The vital first edit/second draft.

A huge thanks to Jonathan Ward this week, that’s him down there on the blogroll if you were wondering, who has returned some absolutely spot-on advice to me about my novella “Spares.” It’s fair to say that there was a fair amount wrong with it, what with it being a rough first draft, written stream of consciousness style and all, but I’m pleased to say that there seems to be a great deal right with it too!

So now I’m onto the first editing process, which I can largely compare to that picture at the top of this post. The majority of what I am doing is cutting out sections and pasting them into a “cutting room floor” document of ideas, quips, dialogue and other bumf that, while not dreadful, simply either doesn’t fit, doesn’t work or interrupts the smooth flow of the story. Now, flow is something that I personally hold to be vital to a story. I like a story to grab you and drag you along for the ride, occasionally dumping you on your arse when there’s something to learn or listen to. I like snappy dialogue, insults that cut to the bone and people that are as real as I can possibly make them. Now in order to maintain a pace that accelerates you towards the finish and then dumps you hard on the other side, gasping for breath and reeling from what you’ve just witnessed, a story needs kicking, chopping, hammering and generally pummelling until it’s in the right shape. At the moment, I don’t have that. It’s tangential, overly introspective at points and a little prone to waffle. Now that’s ok some of the time, but at the moment it simply doesn’t have the clout that I want it to have and I want this story to be the literary equivalent of a haymaker to the temple.


Besides that there are points where I got stuck, didn’t have the right idea and so ploughed on regardless, leaping forward in order to keep going until I reached the end. Now of course I have to go back and sort this out, inserting chunks of story that fit and can be welded in place to strengthen the narrative arc that I’m going for. I have a sub-plot to weave through the story, a whole new scene that I’m writing whenever I’m not working, revising, blogging or preparing my Black Library Live army so I can carve my way through my friends’ armies with gay abandon. That’s like regular abandon, by the way, only with a lot more cushions.

In short I have a lot to do, but have all the time in the world to do it. I’m still tempted to say that this could be done within the month, though probably not ready for release as I simply can’t state categorically that those who have agreed to read it through will be done in time, or that they won’t uncover something dreadful that needs my immediate attention.

For now, I must plough onwards. I have a lot to do in order to fulfil my promise of a free ebook for you all and I like to keep my promises, though deadlines are largely something that happens to other people. The key point there, however, is that the wait should always be worth it.



About Alec

An aspiring writer of science fiction, fantasy and horror based in Cornwall, at least when I'm not working as a purchaser for the family Architectural Ironmongery firm. I am a father of two boys and the owner of perhaps the most ridiculous dog to ever chase its tail. View all posts by Alec

2 responses to “The vital first edit/second draft.

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