Haven’t blogged for a while cause I’ve been getting stuck into the 2nd draft of ‘Broken Branches’.  A little later than I originally planned because various other things kept getting in the way plus not being in the right frame of mind, but here I am, better late than never.

Just finished Chapter 5 (of 23) and everything has been pretty much hunky dory so far…eerily so.

I say that but I do plan pretty well so I’m confident in the plots and motivations, my main worries are the craft of writing quality prose and creating interesting, believable characters.

With the novels I’ve read recently I find myself analysing exactly how the author is progressing the characters and the story, what they’re including and what they’re leaving out which is just as important.  I’m not writing a police report or a NASA instruction manual detailing every iota of information, readers contribute their own imaginations to a story so a writer has to leave room for that to happen.

This 2nd draft is going to consist of reading through the whole thing in about a month; fixing obvious writing errors, adding description and characterisation, fixing names, researching real-world aspects I glossed over in the 1st draft, ensure the plots and motivations are good, making sure every scene/paragraph/line of dialogue deserves its place, trashing the fluff and the flim-flam, trim exposition to the bare bones and clarify the timings of the whole novel.

No major headaches so far, just lots of little things needing improvement.  It’s amazing how often simply deleting a phrase or sentence actually fixes the whole problem.

Here are a few blog posts I’ve stumbled on that’ll help me tighten things even more;

  1. Novel Doctor – The Editor’s Hat: 11 Tips for Your Second Draft
  2. Holt Uncensored – Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)
  3. WordPlay – Most Common Mistakes Series
  4. The Creative Penn – On editing and rewriting
  5. Hey, There’s  A Dead Guy – 8 Fiddly Things You Can Do To Your Manuscript To Make Your Editor’s Day

The hardest thing to do is read this 1st draft like I’ve never read it before.  I don’t remember everything, and it’s great to read a catchy line I’d forgotton, but I still know the basics of how the whole novel will unfold.  It’s difficult to imagine how the reader will feel at a particular point and assess if you’re doing things in the right order, in the most interesting order, or if they’re following as enthusiastically as you’re leading…

…like a blog post…hello?

In doing a 2nd draft, there’s one unavoidable consequence.

You’ll have to do a 3rd draft.

It’s all going off in the world of books at the moment!

Today is ‘World Book Day‘ and Saturday is ‘World Book Night‘, not on the same day.  I don’t make up the rules.

On book night you can attend an event and get given a free book chosen from a limited selection.  If you’re in Worthing then check out the book night event at Mooey’s Mocha Shop where you can receive a copy of Philip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights‘.

Also, The BBC have a book season going on with loads of great programmes.  You can see them all here and watch them on iPlayer if you missed them.  The Review Show and The Culture Show have specials airing plus dedicated shows such as ‘My Life in Books’ and ‘Faulks on Fiction’ which have been good. ‘Birth of the British Novel‘, presented by Phil Mitchell, was also very good.

All these shows are a great eye-opener into loads of classic books you may not have read and may never get around to reading.  It’s all a bit daunting when trying to sculpt your own little corner of British literature but educational and awe-inspiring at the same time.