Progress on my novel
Over the last ten days I have been steadily working on two aspects of my novel for children. I have been going through the text meticulously editing and rewriting. I have now finished the second and third drafts of the text. I’ve almost finished the fourth draft as well.
In the second draft of the work I used the notes of fellow students for the first seven chapters, plus the notes of a friend who offered to proofread the whole novel for me. She proved to be quite valuable as a reader and she managed to pick up many typos, punctuation errors and a few spelling errors. She found errors on most pages and so it was worth my while getting her to read the manuscript. Her strength is in copyediting, rather than in structural elements, setting, plot or characterisation. She did have a few comments to make about the motivation and attitude of the protagonist which made me think.
On the third draft I used the notes and comments of my supervising lecturer. Rosanne, with all of her experience as a published writer, is able to tell immediately if there are any weaknesses in the story, where things could be improved, elements of the plot that need to be eliminated as well as being good at copyediting. As my supervising lecturer this is a big part of her role. She is also very good at encouragement and also in gently pointing out areas for improvement. If only every writer had such a mentor. Actually-she is far more than a mentor to me; she has become a friend.
During the third draft I also did considerable rewriting, adding and subtracting many words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs and even a half page here and there. In fact, during this process the manuscript went from 39,175 words to 39,932 words, an almost 2% increase. And that was despite deleting many words along the way.
On my fourth draft I am on my own, looking at the suggestions of no-one. I am going through the text with a very critical eye. I am eliminating all unnecessary words and passages. I am looking for grammatical errors (a few), problems with point of view (there were many) and inconsistencies with the tenses of my verbs. This latter area will need much attention in my fifth draft, I’ve decided.
Over the last five days progress has slowed down considerably due to being away from home. We travelled to Geelong for our daughter’s graduation at Deakin University. She has achieved her Master of Education (TESOL), her third degree. Because we were staying with friends it was part holiday as well. I was able to attend to some editing but relaxing with our friends was higher on the agenda.
Tomorrow I will need to get back into full swing again.
- Writing a novel – a series of articles outlining the processes I went through while writing a novel for children.