July Blog: Put the Draft Down

I was about to start draft three of Attrition, in fact I had technically started it, when I realised I wasn’t following my own advice of taking time between drafts. So I closed the file and put the hardcopy away. There’s never a shortage of writing tasks to do or ideas to follow up on and as it happens I had an application to complete as well as a short story that I wanted to get finished. For the last two weeks I’ve been working on those tasks rather than Attrition. The short story is nearly done (the first draft of it anyway) and my application is submitted, so it’s been a productive ‘break’ from the novel. Just yesterday I picked Attrition back up to restart the third draft. Boy, I wish I hadn’t…

The story is, overall, strong. It’s my writing of it that’s the problem at present. I can see lots of issues with it and no doubt there are plenty that I can’t see as well. Some sections read very much as a litany of things happening without much excitement drawing them together. Parts feel a bit juvenile and not very well polished. Obviously, it’s not a final draft and I can see what needs to be done, so at least I’ve something to work with. However it is more than a little bit disheartening to work on something for so long and to still feel so far off from the finished thing. I am, of course, trying not to get too bogged down in negativity. It’s just a bit overwhelming. I’m also acutely aware that the time I spend on Attrition means less time on other projects, some of which I’d love to be able to focus on. The grass is always greener I guess, so in reality I know I need to persevere and get over this mini slump.

Moving house is still on the cards but things are in a bit of a lull there at the moment too. If my house doesn’t go ‘Sale Agreed’ soon there’s a real possibility that I’ll lose the new house (the developer is already threatening to take it back) which would be a shame. All that said, there’s very little I can actually do about it. Hopefully someone will come along soon who falls in love with the place and that’ll be that. It’s a great house but my time in it is done. It’ll make someone else a lovely home.

August will see me continuing with Attrition and I hope to get a handle on the overall structure of the story. First of all I need to read over the hardcopy and take notes as I go through it. I hate wasting paper but I like to print a hardcopy when I’ve finished a major draft and then read it away from the computer screen. I think this gives a bit of distance too and a new perspective. Once I’ve done that I’ll physically rearrange the story and get the structure right. The arduous task of refining my writing then awaits… I’ll prepare for tears but hope for the best.

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