The second draft

I’m at the early stages of writing the second draft of my fantasy novel.

It’s scary times. Like the moment the butterfly in its cocoon turns to mush. You look over this thing that has consumed so many hundreds of hours and wonder, is there actually anything worth keeping?

Everything is up for grabs. In a novel with the working title City of Djinn, I’ve even been questioning whether the djinn add enough to the story or whether they should be cut.

Most of this novel was written during the frenzied days of nanowrimo which, I suspect, makes it an even scarier beast than a standard first draft. I’ve heard nanowrimo novels refered to as ‘zero drafts’ – they’re not even good enough to be a first draft.

Last week I purchased Scrivenor, a software package designed specifically for creating large works such as novels and screen plays. Scrivenor comes highly recommended and, with a 50% nanowrimo winner’s discount, it only cost me £16 making it a no-brainer. It took me the better part of a week to struggle through the tutorial (I hate e-learning) and I’m now occupied importing my novel into it.

Scivenor’s strength is the facility to break long works into much smaller sections that can be easily moved around but this means I have to split what was formerly a single, 260-page Word document into its 50 constituent chapters and then each chapter into its individual scenes (of which there are between one and seven in each chapter). Plus I have to copy in all the notes and chapter metadata in addition to all my world building and character documents.

This structure and the software is going to be a real asset when I start editing properly, but it will probably take all of the Christmas holidays just to get everything properly stowed away. Until I know if a scene will stay in the novel and what its purpose is, there’s no point in rewriting the text. I just have to be patient.

2 thoughts on “The second draft

  1. Sam Joines

    I totally feel your pain! i’m doing the same things as you, basically wondering who wrote that!? I tried scrivener, writeway, and dramatica, and the free one ywriter. I spent hours doing what you are doing, transporting into programs and I finally decided that I like the free one the best! I also read something yesterday about using your excel spreadsheets to keep track of chapters and scenes.

    Today, I printed out the manuscript, took a pair of scissors and cut out my scenes (literally) I stapled them onto big index cards which I labeled which scene and what happens in it. When I got through, I realize Man! I have a lot of rewriting to do, and I mean A LOT! I found a couple of holes in my plot too. I think having the scenes in my hand like that so I can put them in what order I want will help me with the second draft. I’m pulling for you! You can do it!

  2. kirosl Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Sam. I’ve been using Excel Spreadsheets and tables in Word docs, but thought I’d finally give Scrivenor a chance. You can export it all back so seemed a low risk!
    One of the writers whose blog I follow recommends printing and cutting. I’m not sure I could face it 🙂 I hope it’s helpful for you.


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