Weekly Wrap-Up 6/22-6/26

Weekly Wrap Up

 

From my June Goals list, I’ve accomplished quite a bit this week.

Reading:

Yes, I just said that I’ve accomplished a lot this week, but reading has not been apart of that. I’m almost done with Dog On It by Spencer Quinn, but reading has been pretty slow this whole month. I’ve been so preoccupied with other things.

Writing:

And when I say “other things” I mean my writing. This was my first official week off from work and I have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure I miss the kids, but I’m happy to finally put more time and effort into my writing.

As stated in my Routine Is Key post, I decided to schedule my time wisely now that I’m not at work six and half hours of the day. Five days a week, I want to get at least two hours of writing in. I tried for a certain time (8:30am-10:30am) and that worked for a couple of days.

The week was kind of crazy because it was the last week of school for my cousins so the time got changed a few days. Now that I don’t have to drive them to school anymore I can actually start writing earlier if I want.

Whatever the time though, I’ve been getting two hours in every day as planned. Which is great for me because I can never stick to schedules like this.

I’ve been rewriting George Florence and as stated in the update post, it’s going really well. I may have to do another update post sometime in the near future. I was talking to Kris yesterday and had a lot of realizations about my novel. There’s so much to think about… it’s nuts.

Blogging:

Included in my new schedule, I’m going to use Fridays as blog days. There are a lot of posts that I write in advance, so I’m going to take advantage of my Fridays to do that.

I’ve already been planning my July posts instead of finishing up my June posts… oops.

Next Week:

I’m going to continue rewriting George Florence. My original goal was to have it finished by the end of June so I could edit in July, but the novel is coming out a lot longer than expected. The scene I’m in the middle of writing at the moment was page 40-something in the original first draft. In the first draft of the rewrite it’s page 101. So… I have yet to decide whether this is a good sign or not.

In other words, July might be spent writing Hunter for Camp NaNoWriMo, finishing the rewrite for George Florence, and then start edits on George Florence. This should be interesting.

How did your week go?

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Update On George

Back in May I posted Problems with Protagonists. I voiced my concerns about dealing with a protagonist who just doesn’t seem to want to listen to anything I have to say.

The protagonist I’m talking about is George from my George Florence series. I mean, the series is named after him… the least he could do is cooperate, am I right?

With a little help from my writers group, I came to the conclusion that the way I was writing the novel was just not working out. I was thinking of changing it for a while, but when other people noticed the same thing I was, I realized it was time for a change.

Considering I wrote a post about my problems and so many of you gave me advice, I figured I owed it to you guys to give you an update.

I’ve been spending on the month of June rewriting–not editing, rewriting–George Florence, book one. I decided to put books two and three aside so I can focus on the first book.

When I say rewrite, I mean that I changed the POV from third person-George to third person-Lilah. I always visioned the two of them to be equal protagonists. George, the main male and Lilah, the main female. Except Lilah was pushy and started taking over. George was a pushover so he allowed her to do this.

Well, Lilah finally has the spotlight and I have to say that I’m glad I listened to my characters. Here are some reasons as to why the novel is coming out better than the first time around:

1. The novel is flowing more freely, yet slower at the same time. George Florence is a mystery and they were finding clues and evidence way too fast not giving the readers time to think about it. Since Lilah isn’t a detective she needs to stop and really think about the cases. She has to ask George if there’s anything she doesn’t understand. This gives the readers a chance to really think as well.

2. George acts more like a detective. He’s just getting back on his feet after being let go from the police department and he’s having financial woes. He’s bound to be a bit shaky on his feet. However, he’s toughened up a bit and I think that’s mostly because he’s trying to help Lilah along. He feels as though he’s responsible for her.

3. I have a better understanding of the cases George and Lilah are trying to solve. I keep a lot of notes and outlines with witnesses, statements, clues, the works. But I never understood what they meant. I just went along with it because it seemed to make sense. Now that George and Lilah are working through it day by day and George seems to have a lot more knowledge than he did before, I’m doing a lot more outside research. That was always something I was saving for the edits, but now I’ve realized that was dumb of me. Now I know what I’m talking about (sort of)!

Sure, the novel still has its problems just like every other first draft. But as first drafts go, I think this one is pretty good. It’s going much better than the other first draft (and that was the best first draft I’ve ever written!) so I think I’m making some real progress on this novel.

There will be more updates as I go along. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of June and edit it during August… along with writing for Camp NaNo. That will be fun!

The Second Draft

First is the worst, second is the… best?

As many of you know, I am currently working on the second draft of a Detective Florence novel. I hand-edited the first draft and now I’m re-typing it as the second draft.

What is a second draft?

Well, the second draft can mean many things to different people. It could be…

  • The first official edit of the first draft
  • The first official re-write of the first draft
  • The first realization that your novel is not in fact the next “greatest American” one

Second drafts exist (more or less) so that editors, agents, and publishers do not go insane. If writers were able to send out their first drafts then everyone in the world would be a published author. Also, the world would be filled with many terrible books.

Editing Second Drafts

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Some people see their second drafts as editing opportunities. By editing, I mean looking through the first draft with a magnifying glass searching for misplaced commas, spelling errors, and the occasional silly typo.

Not all people do this, but I have seen some work through their second drafts like this. I don’t completely agree with that because there are so many aspects about the novel that are going to change in later drafts. In other words, there will also be spelling and grammatical errors to search for. Why not look for them all at once on your final draft whether it’s the seventh draft or the 20th?

I mean, let’s be honest: you can find all the technical errors you want and polish the draft to make it absolutely perfect. However, when you read that fifth chapter you’ll most likely say to yourself, “Oops… plot hole!” or “Why does this character have blue eyes when he had brown eyes back in the first chapter?”

Rewriting Second Drafts

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In my opinion, rewriting second drafts get you farther than just simple editing. Rewriting means you look more in depth at the plot of the story:

–What questions need to be answered by the end of the novel?
–Do all the plot points connect well with one another?
–Overall, does the plot make sense? Is it realistic (as realistic as fiction goes)?

It means you look closer at the characters you’ve created:

–Does each personality stand out from the rest?
–Will my readers be able to picture each character uniquely?
–Does each character develop throughout the course of the novel?

Rewriting also means you look into the world you’ve created whether it’s made up…

–Will my readers feel as though they’ve visited such a unique, fictional world?
–Will they have the urge to visit this land?
–Is the world well thought-out and planned?

…Or whether it’s a true place:

–Have I done my research on this state/country?
–Will readers be impressed with my interpretation if they live/have visited this real life place?

A second draft should be your first attempt at perfecting the story as a whole. It should–to be blunt–drive you crazy.

The Honeymoon Phase is Over

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So, you’ve completed your first draft of your novel… yay! Go you! You’re one step closer to being a published author. That is, until you realize what exactly you’ve written.

As you write the first draft, you think to yourself, “This is fantastic! It’s my best work yet! Publishers are going to be all over this manuscript!”

It’s great to be positive and to string yourself along and all, but once you start working on that second draft that bubble pops. You feel incompetent, you feel as though you’ll never make it as a writer, you may even feel a bit depressed. You’ll say to yourself, “How in the world did I believe this novel was the absolute best?”

It’s normal to feel that way. In fact, it’s good to feel that way. By getting yourself out of the honeymoon phase, you become a real writer. You realize where you need to go from there. You realize what you have to do in order to make that “great first draft” become a better final draft.

The second draft of a novel is, in my opinion, the most crucial part of writing. Sure, writing a first draft is essential to getting started, but the second draft is truly where the work begins. Once you make it through the second draft, the rest of the drafts–whether there’s five or 50–seem easier than the one before it.

Once you make it through the second draft, your novel is finally on its way.

Related Articles:

What You Need To Know About Your Second Draft
How To Write A Second Draft
The Crash: Braving Your Second Draft