Wednesday, 1 September 2010


The second draft of my 17th Century Historical Biographical Novel is finished! – quite a mouthful that doesn’t really say what the book is about does it?
This is not my first novel, therefore I am deprived of the euphoria of having come to the end of a complicated project, because experience tells me now is when the hard work begins.

I have to decide which parts of my masterpiece need to be altered, condensed, or horrors - cut out completely?
What? All those carefully constructed sentences I spent hours agonising over are to be consigned to the recycle bin?
Yup, afraid so – if they don’t move the story forward... yeah, yeah OK I hear you internal editor.

I know the rules, following them isn’t as easy as one might think: As I write, I feel I am creating atmosphere, describing period clothing to give the reader an image, drawing a bygone way of life – but in editorial terms these are ‘backstory’, ‘exposition’, and, ‘laundry lists’

Does the first grab the reader and entice them to want more?
Weeelll . . the first paragraph does- I think.
Does the first sentence help with action to lead the reader towards the plot?
I passed that one – possibly.
Does the paragraph sets the tone, the scene, introduce the character and continue the action from the first sentence?
Hang on, I only have a dozen or so words here, how can it do all that?
Keep thinking action and character development, with pertinent details.
Got this one taped too – well I think so.
Content editing means taking out what doesn't work, and improving what does.
I think I need another opinion on that
Expand on emotion/sensory details and check research for consistency.

OK, I can do that
And all this on top of checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, POV, improve descriptive phrases and replace repeated words.

The good news is writers are individuals and being a meticulous one, I revise chapters as I write and when I receive critiques from my group. So when some writers need six or seven drafts to get it perfect, hopefully I can stop at three!

Finished my manuscript? No not really!


Hannah Stoneham said...


Mary said...

Well done...Savour the moment... Wallow in the sense of achievement... Pat yourself on the back ... you've worked hard no doubt to get to this stage ...enjoy for a few days more. The editing can wait for another day or two, can't it?