Friday, February 18, 2011
Those Second Draft Blues
Then we finish our first draft and we stare down the barrel of some nasty revisions. All the looks and verys and gasps bury their heads in the text and hope to escape notice. And they do escape notice because over the month, three months, six months it took to write that first draft, we’ve fallen into bad habits.
Our inner editors have gone to sleep, our polish-mode button has rusted over, and we’ve forgotten how to be chief editors of our own work. Other stories begin to distract us. We start to hear the call of novel #2 or 3 or 4. Our current WIP begins to wallow.
Sound familiar? These are the second draft blues.
Ways to change the hue and finish that novel:
Take a break. Don’t make it an endless break. Decide on a return date and stick to it.
Get your work critiqued. It doesn’t have to be close to perfect before you send it out to a trusted critiquer. Sometimes this is the boost we need.
Critique someone’s work. It’s amazing how much easier it is to see someone else’s repeated phrases and passive sentences. This will also wake up the editor that lurks inside us.
Read a how-to book on writing/ attend a workshop. We are forgetful creatures so we often need to relearn the basics, no matter where we are in our career.
Make a list of those favourite words. The beauty of Word is the find feature. I can search through my document and find the multiple gasps, see how I’ve peppered my text with them, and wipe them out where appropriate.
Decide on a writing schedule and stick to it. This will help push distractions aside.
Extend yourself. The revision drafts is where the real work begins. The challenge is always to find new ways of saying something. This requires us to push our thinking and not settle for a that-will-do attitude.
What are some of your favourite words or phrases you have to fix during revisions?