Here we go…

The second draft of Forever is underway now.

Everyone tackles redrafting differently but I thought my method might be of interest to other writers and the handful of interested readers who like my stuff. It’s a variation on my short story process but with a few extras to help orientate myself round a much bigger canvas and I still haven’t done lots at novel length. Your mileage will vary, here goes…

My first drafts are pretty raw, I try to let myself be open to where the story will go within the practicalities of holding the tale in my head. By the second draft I must know where I am going or the whole things fall down and so my approach is much more structured:

– Read Through
– Figure out what the story is about (not always what I thought when I started if I had any idea)
– Scene analysis: Every scene goes in a spreadsheet, my notes from the read through are combined and I go through the structure of the book with a tooth comb, marking where major revisions are needed, new scenes and cuts.
– Structural pass: I go through the manuscript removing all the guff, add any new scenes, and remove any pacing issues I can see.
– Character pass: I go through the main characters arcs, check dialogues is distinct and behaviour consistent with clear progression.
– Research pass: I check any factual material has been represented correctly if appropriate.
– Line edit: I read the whole thing out loud to ensure the prose flows.

Then I pass it to my test readers. There’s lots of ways to do it, this is just mine.

I’ve just finished my scene analysis and am about to start the structural pass. Wish me luck.

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