Don’t be Daft: Rewrite your Draft (Part 2) by Mairead Corrigan

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Mairead Corrigan

Mairead Corrigan

Read Part 1 of this article  on rewriting your draft here.

How do you do get your novel ready for submission?

The same way you started your novel in the first place. You need to be consistent.

You may recall that I briefly mentioned the steps after the novel had finished earlier in the post, and you’re now journeying into your second draft. For a better structure, this is precisely how you should do it:

Take a Break

Take four to six weeks of a break. Some say you can take a break for up to ninety days. Read to your heart’s content, reading all you can on books similar to your story. Note the stories you feel you have surpassed and those that have taken you in another direction. Jot down some notes, and even write longhand, but don’t be too strident. This will encourage you to develop your story when you are ready to return.

Get Out

The same as you would do if you were facing a block if you believe in such things. Get out into nature and go for a walk, dance on the beach or dive into the sea. Mingle with friends and family. Remember, great art is inspired by conversation at times, so don’t neglect socialising, as much as it might pain an introvert or a hermit in my case. Just remember to observe your surroundings. The world can be the most interesting place, even around the benign: “It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obligated to pay attention.” – Mark Strand.

The Pitch

Spend time developing and shortening the synopsis to the main pitch during your reading. You can do a very simple exercise: write a page synopsis, break it down into a summary, and eventually get to that golden sentence that perfectly describes your story. It does have to be fancy. For the movie Aliens, the pitch was ‘Jaws in Space’. Remember, the second draft phase is you with the eyes of the reader. Get to the point, and don’t think of the reader as stupid. Presumably, you don’t have to be that well-read to tell when we are given too much unnecessarily.

Chapter Structure

Consider alternating chapters thematically. At this point, you should have your own philosophical change of perspective. Can you add a prologue? Does the existing prologue and/or epilogue fit right? Can you experiment here while keeping in tune with your theme and plot? Have fun with this before the last step.

Planning

I know, I know, the planning is endless. Or so it may feel. But you will be thankful for it. Now, you have all your second draft development down on paper. Here, you have a grasp of your story, and your developmental ideas, keeping with your authentic voice, have come together. Put it into action. Remember, this is not the last edit of your book. The more crafting you can do here, the more beneficial it will be for you at the submission stage. Considering your break-time efforts and revision, there will be big chunks to work with. Keep an account of what you’ve done via a journal. Look into how other authors have done this and kept their will alive.

The best things in life are the results of the most challenging times. This project is yours and no one else. Make it count, and always remember why you started writing in the first place. You must find ways to keep the momentum going. Repeat this process as often as needed because I promise the results will change your perspective entirely on rewriting. There will be times you can’t wait to get to it. Not only that, but you’ll get to know yourself better through the craft of your story. Look at how capable you are. The sequel won’t have a patch on you, dear!

I have now gotten to the stage where if I need to edit when and if I get accepted by a literary agent and publishing house, the worst work to start has already been done! Should that happen, I have a few ideas I wrote down before using them and going off on another tangent!

There is no longer any fear of the commitment to my story, all because I got through it. I wrote when I did not want to and kept writing even when it was abysmal. Recently, I returned to a few other stories I left for dead, gathering dust in the corner (or pixels in this case, as my work is all saved to the cloud), and have revived them to depths of story I never thought I would go. Not only do I have my main story competition ready, but I also have three other potentially successful stories to use, one or two of them only being a draft or two away.

It’s amazing what happens when you finally decide to listen to the ones who have gone before you.

Rewriting doesn’t feel like the chore it used to anymore.

(c) Mairead Corrigan

Read Part 1 of this article  on rewriting your draft here.

About the author

Mother of Two, Mature University Student with NUIG, deferring studies and employment to focus on publishing my Novel in 2024.

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