Notes from a Writer’s Life #4

A new month beckons! It’s February 1st, Imbolc in the pagan calendar, the first day of Spring, which means new beginnings and new opportunities.

In other words, it’s the perfect time to be starting the rewrite of Bleak Waters.


In a change from my usual editing process, I’m using the Word track changes feature as I start the work through. Having used it when editing Badlands over the last few months, I thought I’d give it a try when working through this novel.

The advantage is that none of your changes are fixed until you approve them, so the first scene that I just deleted is still sitting in the file with a load of red lines through it, awaiting its fate.

Similarly, the new opening I’m writing for draft 2 is also currently awaiting approval. My plan going forward is to finish edits on each chapter, approve or reject them as necessary and then push on to the next.

With the beginning of Bleak Waters being it’s weakest part, I’m hoping that at some point the two texts will merge into one (probably between the quarter point and halfway stage).

But there is still the distinct possibility that I’ll end up rewriting a good chunk of the whole thing.

In short, yes, I’m “pantsing” the second draft as well.

Why? Because at this point, I’m still not 100% sure in which direction the book needs to go. Doing it this way means I have the flexibility to incorporate existing text where I can or ditching it all and going again.

This is the most crucial stage of writing a novel for me. I know the themes, the ending, the plot development, and how to strengthen its weaknesses. If I get this draft right, subsequent drafts become a whole lot easier.

Will it work? I’ll keep you posted…

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