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Saturday, 7 July 2012

Working on Draft 2 (Hospital Road)

I recently started the second draft of Hospital Road after my read through and taking notes on its problems and issues. Got to be honest - I was worried about how the second draft would go as the first was weaker than hell. To give it some sense of scale, I'd written eleven books before Hospital Road and the first draft was easily the weakest since my fifth or sixth. I didn't know the characters; I didn't know the meat of the story, and I didn't know how to end it. But after leaving that draft alone for just over a month and reading through it, I saw where the problems were and how to fix them. The first draft was like the foundations for a new house. Now that I've got the base done, I can work on building from the bottom up.

One of the biggest helps for me is leaving that first draft alone for a weeks. It gives me time to recharge my batteries and it gives me some distance from the story. By the time I go back to it, it's easier to see what works and what doesn't. In this case, the characters have grown a bit and I can see where their stories go. I've also had not one but two of those ah-ha moments where plot points come together. The funny thing is if I sit down and try to work out a problem, it often doesn't work, but if I let the back of my head deal with it while I carry on with the rest of my life, it leads to the ah-ha moments and gives me two extremely cool fixes to a couple of problems. It also takes the story in a new direction and gives it some balls.

Anyway, Draft the Second should be done in about a month. Then I'll give it a polish to smooth things over and it'll be ready for its crits. Meanwhile, the back of my head is kicking about ideas for Book 13.

I'm sure it'll be unlucky for some.


  1. 11 books? Blimey, I have some catching up to do!

  2. Ha. I wouldn't worry too much. The first few are pretty ropey. In fact, I wouldn't let any of the first six anywhere near a publisher.

  3. I could have written the second paragraph of this post myself - that's exactly what I do! I need time to let the first draft marinate, and I can almost never solve problems if I force myself to meditate on them. Solutions come on their own, whenever they feel like it. Funny how that works!

    I remember I had written myself into a plot hole with CREEP, and was killing myself for a week trying to figure a way out. It came to me when I was chopping onions. There is not one onion in the damn book, haha.

  4. Class. Let's hear it for onions.

    I think I came up with my fixes when I was doing something completely unrelated to writing like watching TV or feeding the cats. It's funny how the brain works.