Monday, 16 April 2012

HELLO First Draft

Last Monday I finished the first draft of my current WIP - The Wind Knows My Name.


From last years experience doing NaNo, I learned the hard way - after handwriting a few thousand words - how laborious it was to type it up. I mostly typed straight on to my netbook, but also had this lovely blue floral notebook: to try out ideas, make sketches, as well as writing a scene or two.

Previously, I'd never got past writing the first three chapters because of constantly editing. But this time I just got the story out (another NaNo lesson).

I used Scrivener - which I raved  about last year - a writing tool most useful. After compiling the draft, I exported it to Word and pressed print. In my excitement, I forgot to run the spelling/grammar checker. Oops. I'm now doing this along side the hard copy. 


Now the big task: edit, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. How many times was that? Heck, I hope I don't grow to hate this book. I doubt it.


Throughout this writing process I have kept references to help me with the various stepping stones that will get me to the final draft. The following comes from an article: A One-Stop Shopwritten by Stewart Ferris, and can be found in the December 2011 issue of Writing Magazine. He suggests a ten stage redraft:

Draft 1 Typing a rough copy of the finished book
Draft 2 Tightening the structure and filling gaps
Draft 3 Character development
Draft 4 Working on dialogue
Draft 5 Working on language and imagery
Draft 6 Restructuring parts of the book
Draft 7 Adding layers of conflict
Draft 8 Improve opening pages
Draft 9 More on character development
Draft 10 Proof reading for mistakes

I've also read recently that changing the font, and coming back to reread the work will highlight some errors. And in Nicola Morgan's book - Write To Be Published - I've learnt about cutting superfluous words, and purple prose, the power of the active voice, and the need to get the reader to the action.


So, what's the purpose of all this rewriting? At the end of the day - your baby - your book, that you've sweated months/years/decades on, has to be the best that it can be.


I'll keep you up to date on my progress. Who knows what the final draft will read like?

How do you write your first draft? Are you editing along the way? Do you have a favourite part of the process? Have you used anything similar to the ten stage draft?


  1. I can really relate to you about stopping to constantly edit - I, too, was broken of that bad habit during NaNoWriMo! I do use something similar to the ten stage draft you mentioned. Once I embraced the fact that my WIP would have numerous "layers" added to it, I was not as hard on myself. Congrats on finishing your first draft, Debbie!

    1. Before I even go through it all, I know the layers will be tweaked at. I'll be interesting to read it with new eyes.

  2. I crazy edit along the way - it's slows me down so much!! I'd love to just get on with it but I can't seem to stop going over previous writing!

    Huge congratulations with your shiny new lovely first draft!!

    All the best with the edits! Take care

    1. Not so shiny now, Old Kitty. It appears to have lots of red all over it.

  3. As seems quite common, I edit, edit, edit as I go, but then I get bogged down in it and go back to the beginning and start again.

    And edit, edit, edit...

    Consequently, the first chapter gets about 50 readings and the last about 3!

    I must try harder - especially now my time's so limited.

    Looking forward to reading how yours is going :)

    1. Thanks Kit.

      I've picked a good week off to make a start on it. I think rain and editing are a match.

  4. Congrats on finishing that first draft. I'm working on editing my NaNo project now, and for me that's when the real writing happens

    1. Oh yeah, I've still got the NaNo one to sort out, too. I really enjoyed doing that.

  5. I edit enough as I go to see where I'm going, to tidy up the BIG messes so my path is clear. Wow, all 10 of those revisions! I probably do all those things, though I don't consider them separate revisions. And hahaaa--what's a "final draft"? ;o) (Agents have you do yet another revision--or three!--and editors have to do yet another one--or three!)

    1. Hi Carol, it'll be interesting to see how the first draft differs from the last.

  6. Just like when you're editing business writing--even something like correspondence--it's good to read through multiple times and look for different things each time.

    I'm going to be going through the project I'm currently querying and look specifically at pacing issues. I've got quite a list from an editor acquaintance.

  7. Estupendo felicidades!!!!.
    Un cariƱoso abrazo.

  8. Congrats on reaching that hurdle. Inspiring! I love the pic of the gorgeous notebook and specs, too.

    1. Thanks Madeleine.

      It helps to have pretty things about you when you're being creative. Having said that, my usual notebooks are the black Moleskine ones. I like the plain, off-white paper, and the fact that famous artists and writers have used them in the past.

  9. Oh fab! Well done you. It's such a brilliant feeling to get to the end of that stage, knowing there is more ahead but feeling that energy, that vibe, shift into taking it forward. My first draft was half forging ahead, and half deleting everything behind me!

    1. Thanks Jayne,

      I'm still enjoying the process.