Distant Shores II Update

Distant Shores II Update

It’s six months since I began drafting the follow up to Perfect Timing, so a Distant Shores II update is perhaps overdue.  I have, however, been working on the story constantly.

NaNoWriMo 2016

Prior to the event, I set out my plans for November.  Did things go as planned?  For the most part, yes.  I exceeded the 50,000 word target, writing 54,980 words by December 1st, so I’m a…

Distant Shores II Update

What Actually Happened?

I said I wouldn’t be doing any editing while writing the draft, and I didn’t for the first couple weeks.  But because I was writing scenes as they came to me, instead of chronologically, I did some MINOR editing – inserting a missed word, correcting a glaring typo – while reading the previous day’s writing.

Approaching the end of November I knew I would exceed the contingency completion date of the middle of December, so extended the deadline to Christmas.  Unfortunately I needed a further extension, but by then the draft was over 78,000 words so allowed myself a well-earned week off to enjoy the holiday.

Into 2017…

I completed the draft on February 21, 2017.  Far later than I ever intended, but I’m what’s referred to as a “vomit drafter” – get it all out onto the page, good and bad.  The first draft should be rough and my philosophy is “If it’s not there, it can’t be edited.”

First Edit

The finished draft far exceeded 100,000 words.  So I knew a LOT would be cut, including a number of unnecessary sections of dialog.  I’d written some while battling the dreaded writer’s block, but it had kept me going and at the time that’s all that mattered.

While I advocate taking an extended break between edits, my internal editor screamed during the latter stages.  I silenced her by doing some prep – collating words to be culled, and highlighting every section of dialog – so only took a couple days off.

The edit took a month and was completed on March 24.  In addition to an eighty-five strong word list, I checked and amended contractions and extensions.  Then edited the dialog, and having eliminated tens of thousands of words, I printed and bound the draft myself.

Distant Shores II Update

Second Edit

Although the break of a couple weeks is relatively short, I’m ready to begin the second edit.  Or will be when I’ve made a few more preparatory notes.

This will be the main edit and I expect it to take a couple months.  There are a few inconsistencies to fix and the final title needs setting.

Similarly to Perfect Timing, the story is written from both Lou’s and Will’s points of view, but there is some balancing to be done as both will be heard equally this time around.  I love writing from the male character’s POV and it’s only fair Will is heard as much as Lou.

Next Distant Shores II Update?

The story is due for release in seven months, so I promise I won’t keep you waiting as long for the next Distant Shores II update.  In the meantime, please do follow me on Twitter and Facebook which I update more frequently.

Do you have any advice for me as I begin the second edit?  I’d love to chat!


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My Writing Process

I think of my writing as a living thing that needs nurturing to allow it to grow and develop.  In this post I’ll discuss elements of my writing process.

Planning

Sometimes I let an idea, or a premise for a story roll around in my mind for a long time before writing a single word.  When the idea’s almost infantile cries become more demanding, I make notes in a notebook and let it develop.

Writing can be and often is a solitary calling.  But it’s vitally important I don’t become isolated.  I always discuss my ideas with my husband in the first instance.  He knows me and my style better than anyone.  He tells me what he thinks and occasionally suggests something I’ve perhaps not thought of.

When I’m happy with the ideas, I type up the chapter framework as I see it at that time.

First Draft

Writing process

When I’m happy with the framework, or when the story’s metaphorical cries are becoming more persistent, I start writing.  I always start with the first chapter, but from that point I’m not too concerned about doing things chronologically.  Again, I listen to and observe the story in my mind and if a chapter, or even some part of one later on is demanding attention, I give it.

Writing this way helps battle the nightmare that is writer’s block.  If the words aren’t flowing as freely as I’d like, but something else is, perhaps a section of dialog, I get that written.

While all my chapters are typed in individual documents, I don’t abandon the notebook.  It’s an essential tool for a writer at all times, and I’ll jot ideas down as they come to mind.

When the initial very rough draft of a chapter is complete, I leave it overnight while going over what I’ve written in my mind.  Is there anything I’ve inadvertently missed out?  If there is, I’ll revisit the chapter and add it in as soon as possible.  At that point I might also do some very basic edits, but only if I notice something immediately.

When I’m happy, before moving on to the next chapter, I make a note of the individual and cumulative word count.  Similarly to how we nurture and watch our children grow and develop, I like to see how the story is growing, and it also helps during the editing process.

First Edit

The editorial process can, and should be labor intensive.  It should never be rushed.  I always leave anything, even these blog posts, to rest for a while before beginning the edit.  Depending on the length of the first draft, I don’t touch it for anywhere between a day, to a couple months, or even longer.  By the time the first draft is complete I’m so familiar with the story, having been so immersed in it, I need a break to clear my mind.  To spend time with my husband and family and anyone or anything else I’ve neglected.

When I’m ready to edit, usually when the story’s cries are becoming more persistent and demanding of my attention, I always start with what I think of as a pre-edit, or first phase.  Using Diana Urban’s list of 43 Words you should cut from your writing, I find and replace, or delete them.  The word list is extensive, so I go through each chapter in turn in 5 word blocks to make it easier.  Yes, it means I’m going over each chapter multiple times, but I find it actually speeds the process up.  When each block is complete, I note the revised word count.  It is surprising how much the numbers change, even during this first phase.

I begin the true first edit by reading each chapter aloud, editing as I go.  By reading this way, you pick up things that aren’t so obvious when reading silently.  I repeat the step any number of times, but never less than twice, because it is so easy to miss something the first time.  That is especially true, if, during the first read I’ve added in extra details.  Then, the second read in effect becomes the first and so is vitally important.

Second Edit

This is when I check certain things for consistency, including for example the number of times a character uses a catchphrase.  I go through each chapter highlighting them in the document and edit where necessary.

When I’m relatively happy with the draft, I print the whole thing.  Similarly to reading aloud, it helps catch things I’d otherwise miss, because I’ve gotten so used to seeing the words on screen.  By seeing the story in print, it’s almost as if I’m looking at it anew.  I make notes on the printed copy, then go back to the electronic version and implement them.

When I’m happy with the manuscript, I move on to the next step.  I’ll share that with you next week.

What’s Your Writing Process?

Our writing process is as individual as we are.  Is yours similar or vastly different from mine?  Or have you got any suggestions on how I can improve?  Please leave me a comment and let me know.


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