Two steps froward, one and a three quarter back. It’s progress… of a sort.
Part of writing a first novel is actually ‘learning’ how to write a book. You would think that it’s simply a case of writing down the story, one word after another, until you get to ‘The End’. You would be wrong… at least so I’ve learned.
Lesson 1: Plot, know what you are going to write before you start.
After getting totally lost mid way through the first draft, I ended up going around in circles. Fortunately I had a pretty good idea how it ended so I wrote to the end, the final climactic chapter. That got me out of that hole… lesson learned.
Lesson 2: Stop fiddling with chapters until you’ve got the broad strokes down.
I then went back and printed out what I had, sat down with one of those multi-coloured pens (on red) and went…. gone, gone… gone. About a third ended up on the cutting room floor. Not that it was bad, no… it just didn’t fit the story.
Lesson 3: Fix the big stuff first.
This left a lot of great big gaps, a lot of smaller holes and whole bunch of scribblings that connect to… well nothing. I wrote through from the start following just one plot line at a time… this book has quite a few subplots.
Lesson 4: Massage
Then it was a case of going through the entire story several times to beat it into shape.
Lesson 5: This is a really messy way to write.
I have figured that out now, the hard way. Next time I’ll get my plot nailed as much as possible before I put fingers to keyboard.