Cracking the WIP

I’ve finished the first draft of my work-in-progress (too early to call it a novel at this stage). It needs a fair bit of re-shaping and editing, but it’s taking on novel-like qualities, which is pleasing.

In the first-draft stage, I’ve been trying a new approach. Rather than getting bogged down trying to find the right words at each point, I’m letting myself construct a scaffolding, sketching out just the bare bones at points, and then keep going. So there are points in the manuscript where I’ve written things like ‘S says why doesn’t B just get over it etc’ or ‘Stuff here about L, maybe go back to rock part?’ and then moved on.

In the past, I’ve always tried to get things ‘right’ as I went, and often got stuck doing so. And with the radical re-shaping that happens in second-draft stage, a lot of these ‘right’ words and scenes are cut or completely overhauled anyway. So I thought I’d try something new this time. I’m not sure which approach works best for me yet, but I figure it’s worth experimenting a bit.

The end of September saw the end of my ArtsWA grant period. I’m happy to say that I finished my first draft only slightly behind schedule (having managed to put together a collection of poetry along the way, so I won’t be too hard on myself). All that’s left now is to get the acquittal off (that’s the bit where I tell them thanks for the grant and that I did what I said I would), and the manuscript to my editor. By the end of November, I’ll be starting on a new project. There’s another junior novel cooking, but I have a chapter book and a couple of picture books I might try and get to first.

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