Well, I’m halfway through the outline for a structural edit being done by Creative Manuscript Services. I received a free structural edit and I’m using it on the first draft of my novel. Because I pantsed it, I need to distil the draft into an outline. What I’m doing is putting a character list, the POV character and the key events for each chapter. When I started writing it, I realised that the novel was not my best writing in the world. But that’s what revision is for right? Hopefully after I finish the writing I will be motivated enough to start the revision process. My wife has finished going through it, but she’s afraid I’ll be depressed by her comments, and apparently there are lots. Personally, I view the job of a first draft is to simply exist. If the writing is lacking, that can be addressed during revision.
Think of it like a miner. You go digging in your imagination for a story, and you pull up a great big nugget of something. It’s covered in rocks and muck and earth and heaven knows what else. That’s your first draft. Then you clean it; you wash off the dirt etc and that’s your second draft. Then you cut it and smooth out the rough edges. That’s your submission draft. It goes to an editor for review. If they like the nugget, then they’ll begin to work with you so that they can make it sparkle even more. Then you get to send it to a jeweller (the publisher). And they work with you to put your gem into a piece of jewellery, like a ring, or a hard-back book or whatever. And that’s the process. Not everything you dig out is gold, some of it is copper, or brass, or coal (good for lighting fires). And not every gem makes it to the publisher. But that’s life. As long as you just keep digging.
Anyway back to the novel, I saw some sparkle in the first draft. So that’s motivating me to keep outlining. I realised that there were some parts that I really enjoy. I’ve also been working on my teaching certificate and preparing for the goon show.
I was thinking about this blog and doing something different like “Writing Apocrypha” such as
- The first line of Charles Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities appeared in the first draft like this… “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was 7:38 am.”
- The main character in Moby Dick is clearly a man. When he introduces himself in the first line “Call me Ishmael” you know its a man because the first three letters of the name Ishmael “Ish” is Hebrew for man, the last four letters is an anagram of “Male”. A coincidence? I think not.
And I plan to do this every other day or so, or as I think them up? If you have any Apocrypha, please feel free to submit them to me.