Thursday, 5 April 2012

Creative drafting?

So, I entered the Novelicious competition I mentioned in my last post. Eek. Now I have to wait three weeks to find out if I made it into the top 20 and, even if I didn't, I'm looking forward to reading the shortlisted entries and voting for my favourite! 

I also sent off another submission today. So now I'm waiting on three agencies... I changed my synopsis and cut out some just discovered superfluous info - Query shark is your go-to blog for what to put in and what to leave out. Be ruthless. You know, like a shark. 

Speaking of honing your writing, at the Abingdon Writers/Ali Shaw event last week, I was talking to Ali about the editing process and what a complete bore it can become. Turns out, there is a way to avoid the drudgery of what can feel like a completely non-creative part of the whole novel writing process. Leave some creativity back when writing your first draft. In other words, don't feel like you need to cram in every single character trait or scene setting as you get down the rough idea of your novel. If you leave some of the creative elements to subsequent drafts, you can prolong all the fun parts of writing, combining them with the editing process. 

So, your novel writing time line might look like this:
  • Draft one - get the blasted ideas down onto paper with a rough narrative arc and a good idea of your characters
  • Draft two - concentrate on developing your characters and honing your dialogue until it reads like real (albeit far more interesting and dialled down versions of) conversation
  • Draft three - focus on scene setting. Use colour, smell, sound, beautiful similes, etc
  • Draft four - make sure there aren't any continuity issues and add in/remove scenes that will help keep the pace of your novel moving. Check for 'show don't tell' incidences
  • Draft five - final read through for grammar, spelling, silly mistakes, etc
Hurrah - the creative process is alive and well throughout ALL your drafts. Not that I have tried this method but it sounds as if it would work and, if you have ever drafted and redrafted until your eyes bled and you had no fingerprints left, perhaps it's worth a go just to keep you going on those lonely, miserable April nights when you would quite frankly rather be watching Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares or even (whisper it) *Made in Chelsea (or similarly awful 'reality' tv). 

I think I might try it with second MS, which is a complete mess as it started off as something entirely different (I blame NaNoWriMo) to what it is now becoming.  No doubt it will go through several incarnations before I settle on what it should be (which, for me, is wherever my main character wants to take it). 

Oh and you should all potter on over to this lady because she is very, very funny (although you might need to have kids to appreciate her properly). The Chardmeister thought he was going to have to section me I was laughing so much when I read her blog. Laughing so much I was crying. Proper nose running, mascara tracking down my cheeks crying with laughter. Which is good because that means I don't have to do any stomach exercises for another three weeks now. Yay Relentless Laundry lady!! 

*Disclaimer: I don't actually watch Made In Chelsea or any of those so-called reality tv shows. I mean, I like my trashy tv but it needs to be full of glamorous types doing crazy and unrealistic things like burying step fathers in shallow graves or shouty chefs cursing at stubborn and idiotic restaurant owners...


  1. Goodness - thank you kind lady! It's very nice to come across a blog which deals with a completely new (to me) subject - not food or hideous offspring. I'm looking fwd to reading through your backlog as soon as the blighters are in bed. (And I've disinfected the kitchen. Smells of fox and vomit in there. Thankfully tho', not fox vomit. THAT would be really nasty.)

  2. Ewww, fox vomit. That would be baby rabbits and week old rubbish probably. yuck. Don't read too far back (not that there's much backlog, I've only been playing this game for a few months), I'm nowhere near as entertaining as you - teach me how please! Anyway, hope you enjoy and come back to visit again!