Re-writing a manuscript is daunting and when I started mine, I wasn’t sure how I would get on. I found part way through, I had to stop and take stock of what I’d written so far: do some editing, check for unnecessary adverbs and clichés etc.
Since then I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the back story. As I said last week, it’s important to know your characters inside out. I’ve always made it good practice to do this, even going so far as to interview them about random subjects and put them in situations outside of the novel. This time, I’ve been writing about events that occurred before my novel. I need to be clear about what happened, know the motivations of the characters that were involved, even though they don’t appear much in the current story. The run of events has to make sense and follow a logical order, so it’s important to get everything straight in your head before you start to write it.
The other thing I’ve been doing is making a time line. This might seem obvious, but sometimes you can lose track of what day or even time of day you’re writing about and before you know it, you’re saying it’s Tuesday night, when actually it should be Saturday afternoon.
With all these things straight in my head (and on paper), only then have I been able to move on and I had a clear run of writing around 2000 words this morning.
I didn’t think I would enjoy having to re-write this story, but I am finding that all of a sudden, it feels fresh and exciting again. As it was, it worked, but I knew something wasn’t right. Rather than bin the whole thing, I believe I have managed to save it. So my message today, is don’t give up. If you think something’s not working, trust your instincts, but get a second opinion to help identify the problem. Then go back to the drawing board and see if you can turn it around. If I can do it, I’m sure you can too.
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