How To Turn Your Messy First Draft Into Something That Resembles A Novel

How To Turn Your Messy First Draft Into Something That Resembles A Novel

The Second Draft

When I get to the second draft that is when I get serious.

  1. I take my outline and pull it apart. I consider the new developments and make sure they add to the story and don’t hinder my plot.
  2. Because it is a second draft, I have a stronger sense of who my character is. I have a very clear idea of his goal and I can flesh out the story a lot more. I can brainstorm and strengthen my story.
  3. I also cut the deadweight, because so many of my meanderings are just that, meanderings. They helped to create a character or setting, but I don’t need them. It’s never fun chopping off 10 000 words, but I have never read a piece of writing that hasn’t been improved by a good cut.
  4. I examine the structure and timeline. What happens when I shift things and swop them around. (Cut and paste is a wonderful tool, but do save an original version before you let rip.)
  5. I’ll start looking for mistakes. This could be a lack of setting description, talking heads etc., but only after I am happy with the story.
  6. Repeat the process for draft three, four and five and keep going until you are happy. Each rewrite adds, cuts, and improves.

Don’t expect perfection after writing your first draft. First, you write free, and then you check out the rules. And if you know them well enough you can break them…

Happy writing.

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

 by Mia Botha

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