August 25, 2017 @ 11:46 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success as a Writer
Step 6 (continued): How many drafts?

With the first and second drafts of the book completed, the question arises: How many drafts should one do?

Like most things involving the creative arts, there is no fixed rule about the matter. It depends entirely on the individual writer and the success - or otherwise - of each particular draft.

Some writers can do up to ten drafts before they’re satisfied. Even then, it is sad but true to realise that nothing is ever as sublime as it seemed in that first glow of inspiration. When the Muse spoke.

For myself, I usually do three drafts of a book on the computer before I send it to the publisher to read, after which it’s sometimes .........


Read More
August 19, 2017 @ 5:58 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success as a Writer
Step 6 (continued) A complete rewrite…?

Sometimes it’s necessary to rewrite the book from the beginning.

I believe the Australian author Patrick White, a Nobel Laureate, usually wrote out his novels three times: the original by hand, the second and third drafts on the typewriter.

Only after the third full draft would he give it to his companion to read.

It’s certainly true that a complete rewrite concentrates the mind of the author utterly on the material: reducing it to the essentials and helping to ensure the imaginative vision remains more consistent throughout.

But to be honest, in this digital age the computer makes it so much easier than the typewriter.........


Read More
August 11, 2017 @ 10:23 PM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success As a Writer
Step 6 (continued): The second draft

With the first draft of the book completed, you can view the work as a whole. The high points and the low become more apparent, like looking at a model map of the terrain you’ve just traversed with such labour.

The strengths and weaknesses of the work become clearer. The balance between the characters, the development of plot, any redundancies of dialogue, action and metaphor not picked up when editing the first draft, all come to the fore.

It’s time to think about the second draft of your book. Time to cut back quite heavily where it seems overdone, or to add new material to fill perceived gaps in the tale. Time to see golden words .........


Read More
August 4, 2017 @ 11:49 AM

Seven Sensible Steps to Success as a Writer

Step 6 (continued): Life in death…


I can give a good example from experience of the value in talking a manuscript through with somebody you trust – and also of the significance of dialogue that has meaning and carries the story forward.

When I was writing Soldier Boy, we had trouble getting the opening pages right. I knew I wanted to use a circular structure. It’s a very powerful one: beginning at the end, with 14-year-old James Martin dying on board a hospital ship off Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, in 1915.

But somehow it wasn’t working. I kept being led into all kinds of irrelevant diversions, and the tale going off at a tangent. Telling the reader, for example, .........

Read More