Notes from a Writer’s Life #2

Happy Friday people! We made it to the end of another week.

Alas, the same cannot be said for my WIP, “Bleak Waters”, the first draft of which is now facing a fate as grim as its title…

The first draft of Bleak Waters needs major changes, but the first draft of Badlands was exactly the same.

I’ve read through about ninety percent of the draft as I write this, but I already know that major revisions are needed.

In fact (and if you’re a writer you may want to look away now), it’s looking very likely that a full re-write is incoming.


Well, put simply, what’s on the page at the minute just doesn’t work.

The bare bones of the story are there, but the characters are flat and lifeless, the conclusions they jump too are irrational and far-fetched and the tone of the book is bland and monotone. The prose is all one-paced and the scenes are thin and devoid of any real emotion.

The good news is that Badlands was exactly the same at this stage. And this isn’t altogether unexpected.

Most first drafts are poor. The late great Terry Pratchett once said that the first draft is you telling yourself the story, and I think that’s true.

I’ve told myself the story now, and for the most part the back story and plot developments will remain the same (although poor Ollie from my previous post will definitely be getting the chop!).

I am already churning over ways to make the characters deeper and more rounded, how to increase the tension in the plot, how to close all those niggling holes in the story, how to flesh out the scenes and draw every nugget of dramatic potential from them.

The process will be long and draft two is always the hardest slog. But once it’s done, Bleak Waters will be so much stronger.


Signed & numbered paperback copies of Badlands are now available direct through my website. Get your copy here.

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