A little over three months ago, I laid out a carefully constructed timeline for 2018 that would end with at least four publications and a finished novel. As of last week, I was to have had a finished short story/essay and a first draft, hot off the press, ready for my editing eyes. If you read my post on Tuesday, well, you know how that turned out.
But, onwards and upwards! As they say; I do indeed have a first draft to edit this next quarter, though it is not one of the ones I had planned on writing through the dreary first months of this year. This novel is one I wrote over a year ago: my senior thesis, titled Awakened. Over the course of my last semester of college I worked out a lot of the kinks with the narrative of a girl struggling with the overbearing religion of her community, and now, sixteen months after I sent it off to my thesis advisor, I am reading it again with fresh eyes.
Reading my own writing is difficult enough, but let me just say that reading something I wrote so long ago (when I was less informed, less practiced in my craft) is borderline torture. Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of the story that I really enjoy, and that I think I captured well with my words (self-congratulatory pat on the back) but then there are lines of dialogue, hasty descriptions, and unnecessary scenes that make me want to hide my face in shame for ever having sent this off to a tenured professor.
Not that I didn’t know it was messy; in my last meeting with my advisor, he told me it was a great start to something, but it still needed a lot of work. Because it wasn’t work I was ready to put in yet, I shelved the book, only recalling it to mind if I had an idea for the next draft. Getting to the end of this first quarter without a first draft to present to myself was disheartening, though, so I’ve decided now is the time to put in the work necessary to make something great out of my thesis. I get to satisfy my quarterly goal and move forward with an already established work; killing two birds, if you will.
I’m about halfway through reading – just reading – Awakened. My next step will be to highlight any passages, any plot points I want to make it into the second draft. Then I’ll review the notes I’ve written over the past year, as well as the notes from my advisor, and work on an outline. Then, I’ll rewrite the whole thing.
That’s right; I will be putting down each word of this story on a new word document, until I have a second complete work. This is a writing tip I learned a while ago, and I’ve put it into practice a few time for shorter works, and honestly it is brilliant. When editing on the same document, I often let things slide rather than change them too much, but when rewriting I don’t have that out; I have to type it all up anyway, so why not make it good?
Anyway, that’s my plan for the next quarter: write a second draft for Awakened. I don’t have an out at the end of these three months either, because I don’t have a second draft to polish into a third. So this is the direction I’m going in. God help me if I change my mind.
So, what are your writing plans for the next few months?