Stuck between Drafts


Who would have thought that I would be stuck in the middle of spreadsheets while trying to finish my novel?

I certainly didn’t see this coming.

I have finally finished my reread of Pecan Hill and I can say that it is heinous. Maybe I should view it as a feather in my cap that I can recognise how bad the writing is, but it’s incredibly cringeworthy. You could say it was one of those situations where you’re trying to find what’s wrong with your project and the list of what is right is shorter.

The positive to take out of the situation is that I know what I have to do to fix the manuscript. I only have to work my way down the list, fixing everything as I go down and it should be presentable at the end of the day. Of course, when I’ve finished going down the list, it’ll be time to read through the manuscript again and find out what’s wrong with the new draft and then fix that. I wouldn’t say it’s a thankless task, because this is what I enjoy. Writing. Besides it’s supposed to be easier to fix a page than it is to fill a blank page.

My problem is that Pecan Hill was my discovery written manuscript. Now, after the dust has settled and I’ve pulled myself through the finished draft I can see that I’m going to have to sit down and make sure everything is there. I call it ‘planning on the backend’. And it’s at this point where I’m now “stuck” (I’m not really stuck I’m making progress but I’m not writing). I am going through the manuscript and making a detailed scene-by-scene outline of what’s already there. When I’m done with this little task I’m going to have to see what I’m missing in the manuscript and where it should go and then insert new scenes to make sure I cover all my bases.

Once I’ve finished with these spreadsheets I can finally go back and do some writing. Although the writing won’t be too much (hopefully). Then it’ll be the editing phase.

I can’t help but think it might have been easier if I had sat down before I had written the project and done a scene-by-scene outline. It would shorten my current phase by half. Not to mention, it would have cut out those times when I was wondering what should come next.

My next project (maybe all of them in my future) will have a HEAVY planning element in the beginning.

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2 thoughts on “Stuck between Drafts

  1. It sounds like a comprehensive analysis of your story. Be careful you don’t over-analyze and over-edit the story so that it loses its vibe of original creation. On his blog and various guides, Dean Wesley Smith is an advocate of less editing and more pure creative writing. He suggests that editing is a left-brain function that can erase the right brain creativity of a first draft. I don’t agree with his near total abstinence of a good edit/revised draft, but I do think some of us, me included, rewrite a story to death so that it is so sterile the spark or life of the story idea lost.

    1. I have to say that I can understand why anyone would want to steer clear of edits. My edits so far have sucked out any fun I had in the idea in the first place but hopefully, the edits make it a better product.

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