Nicole J. Simms

Novel Woes – The Painful Second Draft

Post date: 15th March 2016
Novel Woes - The Painful Second Draft

I started writing my current novel in November 2014 as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and completed the first draft in February 2015. Wow, just writing down that date makes me realise that I have been working on this novel for a very long time. At the start of 2015, I had hoped that I would end the year with a submission ready novel. Well, that was before I started the dreaded second draft.

When I finished my first draft, I put the novel aside and started to work on other projects. After a two month break, I then returned to my novel and began the long task of typing up 120,000ish words onto the computer; that was where the pain began. When I finished typing up my novel, I needed another break, and it was a while before I started editing.

I think I was a little naive when I set my original goal. I knew that the second draft could possibly take the longest to complete (it’s like knocking down a house and building it back up again) but I never thought that in 2016 I would still be working on my second draft.

So why has it taken so long?

After a long think, I now know why the second draft has taken so long. Here’s the list:

  • Procrastination – I have to admit this is the main reason why I haven’t finished my second draft. A novel is a huge commitment, and because of this, it’s so easy to make up excuses for why you can’t work on it today.
  • Plot changes – After reading through my first draft, I realised that my original plot was predictable, so I had to go back to the drawing board and come up with a plot that would leave the reader satisfied at the end. So far I have created three different endings.
  • Rewriting – I had to rewrite the novel due to the plot changes that I made. This again required me to read the whole novel. To make sure I knew what was going on throughout the novel, I created a chapter by chapter description.
  • Research – Before I started writing, I hid behind the research. I have a long list of things that I need to check, but because I didn’t want to miss the start of NaNoWriMo, I went ahead with my first draft. However, that meant that I still had a lot of research to do, which is what I’ve been doing ever since.
  • Other projects and commitments – I’ve had to put my novel on hold due to other writing projects and life commitments. I just have too many ideas that I want to work on at the same time, and it’s so much more tempting to work on a short story, especially as I have a huge editing pile.

So there are the reasons, but after noticing several novel submission calls and submissions, I have decided that I didn’t want to miss any more opportunities. So I have promised to focus more on my novel and put that first. I hope to have a submission ready novel by the end of 2016. Fingers crossed I make it this time.

Talking about novels, I had better get back to it.

Keep writing, folks!

My latest, The Horror Tree, post can be found at the link below.

http://horrortree.com/setting-self-doubt-on-fire-how-to-boost-your-self-confidence/

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