Skip to main content

That bothersome second draft

I’ve been busy writing the fourth Two-Natured London novel. The yet to be named book is about Jeremy Grayson, brother of the vampire warrior Jasper who was the hero of Warrior’s Heart. I hope to publish it in May.

This fourth book has been easy to write. Partly its because I already had so much of the background created for the previous books, and partly, because for the first time I outlined the book from the start to finish. The latter wouldn’t have been possible without the first, however. I’m a pantser and don’t always know where my stories will lead me, but familiarity with the world made the outlining easier.

Easy though the writing has been, what I have in my hands is only the first draft. Usually, I edit quite a lot as I go, but I haven’t done much of that either this time round. So, a thorough second draft is needed.

Second drafts are annoying. Gone is the creative buzz that drives the author during the first draft. Now it’s about finding the holes in the story, improving the character development, deepening the plot, and cutting off the storylines that are unnecessary.

I already have a notion of some of the changes that I need to make to my book. A plot emerged later in the story that has to be introduced in the beginning. My heroine has a hobby that becomes very crucial for the story, so I have to emphasise it earlier. But even with a clear picture of what is needed, the work ahead of me is daunting. 

To make the task a tad easier, I turned to the Internet for inspiration and found a list on the BookBaby blog. It is meant for writing fact, but with a little tweaking it works for fiction too. I hope you find it useful:
  • Print your draft with page numbers so you can keep the pages in order.
  • Gather your tools. I use red pen, but sticky-notes and highlighters can be useful as well. If you know that your story will require large changes, scissors and tape might come in handy too.
  • Read through the draft. Make notes in the margins about the work needed. Does the chapter require more depth, reorganisation, or cutting completely? How do they fit within the whole? For a long and complex story, it can be useful to colour code the sections that go together and go through those storylines separately. Colour coding is useful, too, when you have to move chapters or paragraphs to new places.
  • Cut and paste, i.e. physically reorganise the pages or paragraphs.
  • Once you have finished, go through the reorganised draft one more time to see that the new version makes sense. Then it’s up to actually moving the pieces that need moving, and deleting the sections that have to be cut in the document itself. There may be some rewriting ahead as well. The book is far from finished yet.
You can read the original list here.

So this is what I’ll be doing next, though hopefully my book won’t need quite that much work. I think I’ll be ready to reveal more about the book in my next post. Stay tuned. Until then, you can read the Warrior’s Heart so you’ll be ready for the next book.


Popular posts from this blog

My #worldcon75 experience

Here’s the long overdue report from my day at the WorldCon 75, my first ever time attending. The event was held on August 9-13 in my home country, Finland, so it was a once in a life-time chance to experience it with a minimum trouble. I originally thought to attend the entire five days, but life intervened in the form of work, and so I could only attend on Saturday. I tried to make the most of it by planning a full day.

I arrived at the conference centre about fifteen minutes after the doors opened at nine in the morning, and the queue was already at least fifty metres long. It caused me a few palpitations until I figured it was the line for people who hadn’t purchased their day passes in advance. I had, so I just walked past, trying not to look gleeful. Half an hour later I felt bad for all those people when it was announced that the day was sold out, which left most of them outside. The queue for pre-purchased passes was three persons long, the shortest line for me the entire day. I…

Reading recap: August

August was my worst reading month so far and I only managed to finish two books. I have no excuses other than that I was busy working. I did start two more books, but I didn’t manage to finish them in August. And even though I read eight books in July, I’m now two books behind the schedule in my reading challenge of fifty-five books. I’ll have to step up. As has been my habit throughout the year, one book was from my reading list and the other wasn’t.
First book was Ride the Storm by Karen Chance, the long-awaited next chapter in her Cassandra Palmer urban fantasy series of time-travelling Pythia and her entourage of vampires, demons and mages. One vampire and one mage in particular. As always, it was a wild romp through space and time – at times a bit too wild. The first part of the book was constant tumbling from crisis to battle and back with no breathers or plot development in between, as if the author was afraid that the reader will get bored if something earth-shattering isn’t co…

Reading recap: March

I had a good reading month last month. Everything I read was delightful and entertaining, on top of which they were good books too. Again, I didn’t quite stick to my reading list; two out of five books were outside it.
First up was A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. It’s the second book in her Shades of Magic trilogy set in a world of parallel Londons that have different levels of magic and which can be travelled between by a special person with enough magic and right words. Grey London is in the Regency England of the ‘real’ world with little or no magic, Red London is abundant with magic, and White London is in permanent winter and constantly struggles to regain its magic by any means necessary. In the first book, Lila gets accidentally drawn from Grey to Red London by Kell who can travel between the worlds, and decides to stay. In this second book, she enters the stage as a pirate and ends up taking part in a tournament of magic. Most of the book is taken by the tournament, and…