Saturday, 18 August 2012

I finished the draft - somewhat unexpectedly

I was cruising along, a chapter a day at about 1000 words or so each. Then I realised the pace was picking up, so I wrote 2000 a day, then it all got very tense - and I finished the book. Shorter than I expected at but I know I have about 8000 words of description, links, epigraphs and explanations still to add in the next draft. But there it is, a bit lumbery in places, a bit underwritten in others, but basically - a whole book! I didn't realise I had quite so much of the ending already written that could just be added. Wow. I just need a day to change my mindset from creator to editor and I can start smoothing out all the links and wrinkles. I'm really pleased, because at this stage the last book was in a bad way.

Now I'm going to go through with my agent's advice on a checklist along with my First Five Pages checklist. Is the emotion downplayed? If so, turn it up. Increase the drama, seed the backstory or information through carefully, make each chapter move the story on, and end with a hook.

I also have my checklist of shame - look for repetitions and cliches! Add descriptions of people and places - I never do in the first draft though I am getting better with people. Make sure it all makes sense. Pick up the Kate character and thread her through the later scenes. Write all the historical scenes in the same tense (they are all over the place!) and check for typo bungles. 'The' often comes out as 'they'. But I'm still very happy about the nice things the judges said about A Baby's Bones, it's given me a real lift.

Oh, The First Five Pages book is great if you want to really edit page by page, scene by scene. It's by Noah Lukeman, 2000. He thinks like an editor or agent, not a writer, so it's very helpful.


  1. Replies
    1. I know, I got completely obsessed and it all just flew onto the page! Tomorrow I find out if it's any good...