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Working Titles and Second Drafts

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Working Titles and Second Drafts

Sara General

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Today I am going to start on the second draft of my novel re-write.  As I mentioned here, last year I wrote a modestly sized manuscript that was flawed in various ways.  At the start of January I realized that the project needed to be rewritten completely.  I agonized over making the decision because it’s hard to walk away from months worth of work.  I wondered if I was dooming myself to another year, writing another draft of a story I had already been writing on and off for three years.  Then I realized it is never 'dooming' to get to write especially if it improves the reading experience.  This is why I can see people say it is a good thing to read a lot.  Last year, I read fifty books and this reading helped me to see that I had to follow my instincts.  And my instincts were telling me that my story was not ready for readers.

So on January 4, I committed to restarting the draft.  I actually almost started the year off with an entirely different project, one inspired by lacrosse.  I outlined the entire thing and wrote the first few chapters but the first story was eating away at me.  I wasn’t ready to let it go.  But making an outline for the lacrosse story had inspired me.   I made myself an outline for my story and set some basic goals for the first draft.  I would write as simply and cleanly as I could until I had a first draft.  I wouldn’t aim for writing an 80,000 word novel, I would just write a story with a clear beginning, middle and end. I set myself modest targets for the word count of each chapter.

By January 27, I had finished a first draft using the last two days of my winter holidays, snow days, weekends and evenings.   I wrote pretty much every day, but I took breaks in between.  My word count at the end of 23 days was 41,222.  Not an epic by any means, but most importantly, they were words I was proud of.   I was also proud because I told the story that I had imagined, I told it without getting too distracted or lost (although there’s always surprises) and I knew when I finished that there were elements of it that I wanted to flesh out that would round it out nicely.  One week in, I had adjusted the outline and I adjusted it again eleven days later.  Now this is the first time I've really used an outline.  A lot of writers I know and whose blogs I follow don’t use the outline.  I definitely agree with anyone out there who’s saying that you have to do whatever feels right for you.  But I have to say on my own behalf that having the outline was awesome because it totally helped me stay on track and organize the little inspirations/ideas that I was getting as I wrote.

Anyways.  I am happy to have given the first draft a tiny rest and I’m excited to start working on the second draft today.  I'll definitely be checking out some other blogs for tips etc, on how to move through the second draft effectively.

And finally, welcome to my new blog site - I am really excited about it!  The name of the blog has changed.  It is now my Indigenous name, written in the Cayuga language, which is Odadrihonyanisoh (Oh-da-dron-ya-nee-soh).  Some of the post formats look a bit wonky from the transition but I'll get a round to straightening them out as I go.

I made the decision to change blogs because I was finding that I was often posting about such different things (writing, education, treaty relationships, my community, itty bitty stories, journal type thoughts) with no easy way to organize the posts according to subjects.  I hope this will help anyone who happens along to explore the areas they are most interested in – even if it’s just the pictures.

Til next time, happy writing!

S