Monday, 14 February 2011


I tend to write in layers - drafting, editing, working up the detail as I go along. I've 'finished' the novel, but even in the editing process I find myself writing in rough, first-draft style where I have to produce new material.

'First draft' is a sort of stream of consciousness brainstorm. The whole point is to get something down on the page, pick up the big ideas and the main characters' reactions. It's better not to think too much. (I've noticed this is a recurring motif in my blog).

After I've done this, I go back and fill in the blanks, complete the incomplete sentences, improve the detail so it makes more sense, remove repetition. I like to call this 'second first draft'. It's easier than the first part but more meticulous.

Even when I've done, I find my use of language is still pretty basic. That's where redrafting and editing comes in. I have to do it or the main character, Frank, would always be 'terrified', 'staring' with 'eyes wide' - a few stock phrases that roll off the fingertips as reactions to whatever new horror Frank comes across.

If I'm feeling really lazy, I might just write +reaction. The + is there so I can search the + symbol in find/replace when I'm editing. It means I don't have to keep a list of page references that I need to go back to. When I edit it I can search for +, then replace it with, 'Frank stared, in wide-eyed terror', or possibly, 'Terrified, Frank stared, eyes wide.'

More Ways of Working/Drafting...

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