OK, so if you’ve ever written a book or story or novella or play or basically ANYTHING in your life, and you actually want it to be consumed by other people, then it’s likely you’ve had to redraft at some point.
Whether it’s an email in work or a 100,000 word novel, redrafting is one of the hardest parts of the writing process.
This has come to my attention yet again as I’ve just finished the first draft of my latest book, working title ‘Evolve’.
And because redrafting it’s so hard and sucky, I thought I’d blog about it. I’ll apologise now incase this turns into a rant/author confessions post.
THE PLOT HOLES
You never really realise how forgetful and easily distracted your brain actually us until you spend around 8-9 months working on one thing – whilst also still trying to maintain your life, your job, your blog and your social media accounts. You’re gonna find those big plot holes and it’s like waking up with a huge blackhead on the tip of your nose. Annoying, but it won’t do any lasting damage if you catch it early.
Ever noticed that when you write such a big piece, you end up forgetting key things? For example, on one page your character has blue eyes but the two chapters later they’re green? Or perhaps you’ve changed the way you spell their name halfway through (been there, done that). It is MIGHTY annoying. I’ll be the first to admit that I need to get better at tracking these key details in the first draft phase. But I guess spotting these little hiccups is what redrafting is all about. So it’s a good thing… right?
Sometimes, you’re just not inspired
People write in all kinds of ways, but my method is one that I heard Darren Shan speak about once. I firstly write the bare bones of my book – the plot, the conversations, etc – and then I go back and add in all the bits that make it flow and readable. But to do that, I have to be in a certain frame of mind.
The most annoying thing about this is that I never know when I’m going to be in said ‘frame of mind’, but when it does I start think in a very writery kind of way, and I see things differently. I pay close attention to beautiful scenes, perhaps the watery sunlight that makes the barebones of winter trees look as though they’re glowing – which usually just looks like a tree without any leaves when I’m not paying attention.
Song lyrics also start to speak to me like they’re addressing me personally, and then I reach that point where I might BURST if I don’t get something down. And for that writing session, I’m freaking JK ROWLING.
Which is great.
But like I said, I never know when these moments are gonna strike. And trying to redraft without them can kind of be like pulling teeth. Still, I shouldn’t complain. At least they do occur!
You get sick to death of your own writing
Redrafting means re-reading, and re-reading means going over the same passage a million and one times. And boy, does it get OLD. I have recently come up with a method to combat this though, and that is to redraft the entire book once, then go back to the top, and redraft the entire thing again.
Basically, I’m just going to keep going through it over and over until it’s at the standard that I want it to be. I’m hoping that there are enough words to keep me from feeling lethargic!
It can be hard to walk away
Sometimes you need a break from your book. But if you’re a writer then you’re probably also susceptible to writer’s guilt. This phenomenon occurs when you don’t write for a certain period of time. I guess it’s kind of like when super healthy people miss a gym session.
But like they need to let their bodies recover sometimes, so too do you need that vital space from your WIP.
If you really can’t stay away from writing for too long, then start a blog or work on something else. But remember that it’s OK to step back, gain a little perspective, and take a few weeks off. Trust me, it’ll make your novel a lot better in the long run.
And now for the good thing…
Of course, through all the testing redrafting times there is light at the end of the tunnel. And that is that you end up with a book that you can actually be proud of!
So if you’re redrafting right now – I feel your pain and I stand with you! Be sure to let me know your top redrafting annoyances in the comments below and how you combat them. We can make it through if we all stick together.