Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Second Draft Dilemmas

I have been a bad blogger this month - I keep meaning to blog but never quite find the time - slap on wrists.

My only saving grace is that I have been writing - or should I say editing. 

My 80,000 word novel wot I wrote in November and December last year has come under scrutiny because I want to send it to  to the New Writer's Scheme at the RNA this year.

In January the months until August stretched languidly ahead of me but as the first draft is only a very very rough first draft I have quickly realised that I really need to put the hours in if I'm going to lick it into some kind of shape in time for submission.

So how do you redraft?

Well I've started by a quick read through to remind myself of the whole story.

I know alot of people do a a scene by scene breakdown on index cards to give them a better handle of the structure of the plot.  I've done this too but now that I have I'm not really sure what to do with this.  So for now I've put the cards to one side and am going through my script line by line and chapter by chapter.

This seems to be working well.  I'm tightening text and adding info and looking at whether I think the plot is realistic and the characters' motives believeble. I still have quite a bit of description to add - ie locations and intricate details but I'm highlighting these to deal with on the next draft and am concentrating of the flow of the story.

Once I have reached the end of this, I'm going to print this off again and then add the description and then I'm going to look at it again and see if I've got it right.  And then I'm probably going to panic because how will I know?

The answer is I won't - at least I don't think I will. Which is, I suppose the reason why I'm entering this for the New Writer's Scheme.  I just want to get it as good as I can before sending it of for  professional input.  I've part written novels before - even completed a first draft and half of a second draft but I've never got to the stage where I think it is as good as it can be. 

So that's my aim I suppose - to get it as good as I can and then see where I'm up to.  And then, when it comes back from the RNA, I'll probably have to start again.

But then I guess that's what this writing lark is all about. Learning from your mistakes until one day, one day - well maybe - who knows.

How do you edit?


  1. Hi, I'm a NaNoWriMo winner from last year too. I finished at 57,000 words. I'm desperately trying to finish the first draft of that novel by 80,000 words by the end of this month. I want to put it away and come back to later because I want to join another writing challenge and get down the first drafts of two novellas I've been dying to write.

    I came across this link today and saved it up for my rewrite. It might be useful to have a look over it.

  2. Hiya

    Many thanks for this post. Good luck with the 80,000 words. Just keep chipping away and you'll get there. I found NaNoWriMo invaluable for getting the words on paper and now self-impose deadlines to try and give myself definite goals - its the only thing that works for me.

    Many thanks for this link - food for thought. I've set myself the task of doing a complete read / general re-write by the end of this month, so I too will just keep chipping away and see what I come up with.


  3. Well, I'm a playwright, but I was an actor first. So, I edit outloud - meaning, I read it outloud. Really, act it out to see if it plays. Then, I get other actors to read it. Nothing like hearing your work outloud to help you slice, chop, rewrite, edit, edit, edit! Great post!

  4. Hiya Texas Playwright Chick.

    Thanks for this advice - once I've got a cleaner script I might try this - as long as no one is watching though!