So I finally managed to start the second draft of my new novel. Phew! It took me ages to get round to starting it. I really just couldn’t bear to open up that file and start to read and correct and make notes and read notes…. I couldn’t get my head around how on earth I was going to do it, given that I knew for a fact that it was riddled with inconsistencies; my basic writing style seems to require getting it all down in the first draft. Everything. Just write everything, I tell myself, you can change it later.
But ‘later’ had arrived, and it just seemed impossible…
The thing that helped me start to start again was The Creative Writing Coursebook. I decided to read the chapters about ending your novel and redrafting it. I took it and a highlighter and a black biro to a cafe. I’m so glad I did. That book is full of good, practical and useful advice. I love other books about writing; I love the Stephen King one which I’ve read a couple of times now, and Lawrence Block has a great one too. But this one has the little exercises and bits of advice from different writing experts that can help me move on when I need to try something different.
I particularly liked the sound of Paul Magrs‘ advice about getting busy with the felt tips and paper. The idea of doing something different, rather than just starting with the laptop again, not only appealed to me but it also made me feel like maybe the idea of holding the whole novel in one place wasn’t so impossible. Taking his advice, putting my own spin on it, buying a pack of new felt tips and a bunch of post-it notes, printing out my novel in hard copy and going to work with highlighters and coloured pens… I’m getting there.
And it’s so fun doing it this way!
My best advice on this kind of approach is:
a) buy proper post-it notes. The cheap ones aren’t worth it, and,
b) use post-it notes! I have already rearranged mine to suit the way everything is panning out and I think I will rearrange them again when I come to look at other aspects of the story.
Paul has just started to offer his services as a writing coach. You can find out more on this blog.