I download many books on my Kindle. Some of those books are poorly written. One author, who had a series listed with ten books, started so many sentences with “ing” phrases or gerunds, I stopped reading the book after three chapters, and the plot had great potential, but I just couldn’t bear reading it. I hope that his writing improved, but I will never know because the first of the series that I downloaded gave me no incentive to download another.
Immediately after finishing my rough draft, I started reading and revising. I couldn’t help myself, so I stopped reading. I’ve waited to put some distance between myself and my creation. The distance is necessary so that I’m not baffled by the forest for the trees. When I read it the first time, I should be looking at the major plot points, ensuring that the mystery itself comes together, that the clues are there for the reader, that the characters’ motivations match their actions and that the plot is without artifice.
After I read for those major points, only then can I wordsmith. It must be done in that order so as not to waste my own time. If rewrites are necessary (as I’m sure they will be) then why tweak what may disappear. It would be like taking the time to decorate a cake only to discover that a new cake must be baked.
Does each story have an ideal composition? How do authors discover that ideal?