Much advice and wisdom revolves around writing the first draft of a novel. We all know first drafts are about getting the words down quickly, about telling yourself the story rather than telling someone else.
Likewise, there’s plenty of wisdom on how to take a first draft to the next level—that is, how to form your lump of clay into something beautiful.
But what about that gap between when you finish the first draft of a novel and begin the second?
How can we ensure a smooth and successful transition between the beast and the beauty?
Finishing the First Draft
In January 2010, I pledged to write a novel within the year. It seemed like a great idea at the time, even though I had a three-week-old baby and a second child in school, a house to run and a blog to maintain. But, because I was sure to be off work for a while, what better time would there be to write as much as I possibly could?
In spite of a few detours along the way, I can say that I have completed the first draft of my novel.
Right. Um. What now?
Bridging the Gap
Every writer has his or her own way of doing things, and no one way works for everyone, but here are seven tasks I plan to complete before launching into the second draft of my novel:
- Wait. I’ve learned from experience that diving into revisions before taking a significant break from my work equals disaster. Finishing the first draft is a milestone, so reward yourself for a job well done and take several weeks away from your novel. Come back to it later with fresh eyes.
- Brush up on your craft. While you’re waiting for your eyes to reset themselves, dig out your favourite writing resources. I have a number of books and articles on the craft of writing that I go over before beginning any new project. This helps me to pause from my actual writing while continuing to work toward my overall goals. Plus, it’s always good to have great writing advice fresh in your mind. [Read more…]