Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Beam Me Up Scotty

I'm having a Star Trek moment.
If you think of the famous line in the closing titles, "... to boldly go ..."  then that's me.
I'm not actually going where no man has gone before - in fact I'm not going anywhere.
(So what are you prattling on about then? someone at the back shouts).

I'm talking about my writing.  I'm taking my novel to a place where I've never been before - and that is into a third draft.  None of my previous attempts at a "full length" novel have ever got this far.  I've got a couple of children's stories that reached the end of their first or second drafts but these had word counts of 5000 to 10000 words.  My novel (whose title I won't mention because I'm superstitious about it) runs to around 70000 words.

I did the first draft for NaNoWriMo and not planning the novel or writing reams of character bios allowed me to just get the story down on paper.  The first pass was as rough as a badger's proverbial but it was finished and I had a story to work with.

The second draft was a case of typing up 220 pages of hand written manuscript.  I know - I'm a Luddite, but I don't care.  The first draft of anything is about getting it down on paper and I'm much faster at pen and paper than on a keyboard (even if I have had to guess what some of the words were).  I got some heavy duty editing done, both adding bits in and hacking bits out, and now I'm ready for the next go round.

So here I am hurtling into the great unknown at Warp 7, keeping an eye out for Klingons on the starboard bow.  What next?

In an earlier blog I said I was planning to have the first three chapters and synopsis finished by March. That's not going to happen.  I'm going to work right through the novel on each draft; so the first three chapters won't be ready until the last one is.

I've read various blogs advocating working through the entire novel concentrating on individual elements, such as storyline (including pace and structure), character development and dialogue.  This is pretty much what I'm going to do but I can't see how you can divorce one element from another.  I will focus on specific elements but if I'm working on the storyline and spot a bit of dialogue that needs fixing then I'll do it.

And when will it be finished?
As with all my other writing it will be time to stop when I'm down to changing commas for semi-colons (and back again); and that will be whenever it happens.

If you've read all the way down to here - thank you.
Please take a look at the new piece of fiction on the short stories page.

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