Another draft down: What I learned

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It did it. This morning I typed The End on the second draft of my latest manuscript.

There’s nothing like typing those two words. Their three letters hold so much more than weight than appears. The sense of achievement and accomplishment. The satisfaction and relief. The knowing that another step in the process is complete. And the realisation that there’s so much more work ahead.

And as with every draft of every manuscript, there’s been a lot to take away.

Here’s what I’ve learned through this draft:

  • Writing still isn’t easy, but it’s always rewarding
  • I can set and meet high word count goals, it’s just a matter of dedication (also known as bum-in-chair commitment).
  • Climaxes are tough, resolutions are a walk in the park.
  • The more I write, the more I plot, and the easier both the plotting and the writing becomes. But, I still need to allow the characters to take the lead. It’s definitely a fine line between letting your characters guide the story and developing a strong structure within the story at the same time.
  • Describing action is something I need to work on.
  • I need to find another way to describe ‘a smile crept upon her face’.
  • Dialogue is still a strong point for me, but also something I need to keep working on
  • The writing community both on Facebook and Instagram, and of course my blog readers and newsletter subscribers, are wonderfully supportive. Always cheering me on and letting me celebrate my wins and whinge about my lows. I don’t know what I’d have done without them.
  • Did I say writing is hard? Ah, but that I already knew!

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Writing doesn’t necessarily get easier the more you write, it just gets more familiar. I tend to realise my mistakes during the process rather than waiting for the editing phase. My brain is switched on to instantly recognise when I’m falling into telling rather than showing, when I’m stepping outside the POV character, and when I’m veering off the story course. Not that this recognition stops me from doing it though! But at least I can note things down and know where I need to go back and pay attention during the self-edit.

My writing speed and productivity is increasing. I wrote the bulk of this draft over a two month period, which is quite fast for me. I know now it’s possible and achievable to write with a high productivity and not compromise quality, which has been one of my main goals this year. Score!

So with this draft down, I’ll spend the next couple of weeks doing a light self-edit (fixing those things I noted as well as timelines, character developments etc), and then it’s off to my editor for her thoughts. Then the hard work starts all over again. But at least I know, I’m one step closer towards publication.

 

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