After reading my first draft of the RIP, my lovely betas informed me that my main character had eaten so much throughout the book that there was no way the hero could sweep her off her feet in the last chapter.

When I reviewed their notes, it became apparent that my character would have weighed over 400 pounds by the tenth chapter. The beta intervention was absolutely necessary.

I had fallen prey to the "not sure what to do, so let's eat" method. But I didn't stop there. Here are just a few of the heinous first draft happenings that I am eradicating as I work through the RIP:

Cast of thousands
My first draft involved 148 characters -- or at least that's what it felt like. It was an equal-opportunity experience where all were welcome. And encourages to bring a posse of friends.

Total schmaltz
There is one line that makes me cringe and break into hysterics simultaneously at my poor attempt to add a more romantic feel to my novel. "His kisses took her to a place where dreams can come true." This line jumped off the page like Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a gay pride parade; it just didn't belong. Now when I'm not sure how to end a scene, I use this line as a placeholder.

Conflict, what conflict?
Scenes were tossed into the black hole of boredom when I went back to see how they moved the story forward and encouraged a reader to turn the page. Though some of the dialogue was lovely and the five-course meal a culinary delight, if I could get the point across in one line instead of three pages, it had to go.

Speaka no different
Two of my characters spoke the exact same way. so if they talked to one another, each line needed the speaker to be identified. And everyone in the book loving Boney M was highly suspect. ;)

So now my character is on a virtual hunger strike, stopping only for a quick drink or a meal when absolutely necessary. Of course, now that she is eating less I find myself snacking more often. Some of the cast of thousands have been tucked into the shiny new idea box so that they may appear in another novel. Others can be found in the unemployed character line. I'm sure something will come up for them soon.