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Writing and Editing – Making Progress

Re-writing a manuscript is daunting and when I started mine, I wasn’t sure how I would get on. I found part way through, I had to stop and take stock of what I’d written so far: do some editing, check for unnecessary adverbs and clichés etc.

Since then I’ve spent quite a bit of time on the back story. As I said last week, it’s important to know your characters inside out. I’ve always made it good practice to do this, even going so far as to interview them about random subjects and put them in situations outside of the novel. This time, I’ve been writing about events that occurred before my novel. I need to be clear about what happened, know the motivations of the characters that were involved, even though they don’t appear much in the current story. The run of events has to make sense and follow a logical order, so it’s important to get everything straight in your head before you start to write it.

The other thing I’ve been doing is making a time line. This might seem obvious, but sometimes you can lose track of what day or even time of day you’re writing about and before you know it, you’re saying it’s Tuesday night, when actually it should be Saturday afternoon.

With all these things straight in my head (and on paper), only then have I been able to move on and I had a clear run of writing around 2000 words this morning.

I didn’t think I would enjoy having to re-write this story, but I am finding that all of a sudden, it feels fresh and exciting again. As it was, it worked, but I knew something wasn’t right. Rather than bin the whole thing, I believe I have managed to save it. So my message today, is don’t give up. If you think something’s not working, trust your instincts, but get a second opinion to help identify the problem. Then go back to the drawing board and see if you can turn it around. If I can do it, I’m sure you can too.

Sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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Comments (0)

  1. Morgan Prince 31st March 2015 at 10:36 am

    This is so great Nicola! I’m so pleased you’ve saved your manuscript. The timeline thing sounds like a great idea, I’m definitely falling foul of that at the moment. Great, motivational post too. 🙂

  2. littlehouselea 31st March 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Brilliant advice and great to read that you are excited about your novel and loving the writing. Isn’t it lovely when you have a good run and get the word count done? 🙂

  3. Mummy Tries 31st March 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Love this post hon, so pleased you’ve managed to save the story 🙂 A timeline sounds like a great idea, and I’ll definitely be remembering to do one when I start writing the novel. Another useful gem hon, thank you #whatimwriting

  4. Emily Organ 31st March 2015 at 7:48 pm

    That’s great to have made progress and 2000 words in a morning is good going! I love doing the backstory as it clarifies things in my head. And I agree totally with your sentiment – don’t give up on something. Although it’s tempting most days to ditch it! Well done on revitalising it.

  5. maddy@writingbubble 31st March 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Brilliant – love all the advice! So glad you managed to save your sotry – after you’d shared all those excerpts I would have been gutted if you’d just binned it! Keep up the good work and thanks for linking to #whatImwriting xx

  6. suzanne3childrenandit 31st March 2015 at 9:22 pm

    I’m told that the editing process takes double the time of the initial writing. That even rings true when writing a blog post, I find. Very interesting about the timeline. Would never have thought of that!

    • Nicola Young 1st April 2015 at 4:06 pm

      It may just be me, but I seem to lose track of where I am if I don’t write it down. Sometimes the editing seems never ending, but I guess it could be if you let it. At some point you have to be brave and say ‘it’s finally done’.

  7. Tori J. 31st March 2015 at 11:52 pm

    It’s great you’re making progress! A time line is a great idea. Always very helpful. Best of luck with the rest of your editing!

  8. Chrissie@muddledms 19th April 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Sounds like things are really moving on your story. Is this the one you wrote for nanowrimo?
    I have no idea how to do backstory. I tried and failed, even though I feel it’s an important building block.

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