It’s been too long since I last blogged, but to be honest, I didn’t have all that much to blog about, apart from living between Australia and Singapore for three years, and now dividing my time between two major Australian cities. Not to say I haven’t been busy on the reading/writing front. I’ve read a book a week over the past couple of years, spent last year judging the Science Fiction Novel category for the Australian Aurealis awards, written a couple of short stories, and written the first draft of new SF novel during last year’s NaNoWriMo. All contributed toward my growth as a writer, but mostly I took a break and took notes as new ideas brewed.
Now I’m at the stage where I want to get things moving proper. My aim this year, is to redraft last year’s NaNoWriMo novel into a workable second draft, while also sorting out yet another major edit on my Steampunk Novel. This latter project has been a bit of an eye opener for me because I haven’t looked at it for two years and now have distance enough to see it for what it is. Warts and All. Unfortunately it has a lot of warts, and my task now is to eliminate them.
In doing so, I’m going to blog my day-to-day experiences of this — a kind of diary to remind me of my writing strengths and weaknesses and how I go about fixing and/or recognising them. If they help me with my next novel, bonus. If they don’t, at least I’ll know which mistakes I’m prone to making, and do my best to not repeat them.
Here’s Day #1 of Draft #Umpteen of my Steampunk Novel:
Getting Those First Chapters to Pull Their Weight
Late last year, I decided I was going to give my steampunk/fantasy/sf novel another good edit because I’m determined to get it as good as it can get, and up to a publishable standard. After not looking at it for two years, wow oh wow, did I find some clunky bits to get rid of! Worse still, I realised that when I did my last rewrite back in 2015, I stupidly cut out an entire scene that had worked really well to get my novel off to a powerful start. So now I’ve returned that scene to its well-earned place. With a little bit more tweaking throughout, I reckon Chapter One is all the better for it.
Then on to Chapter Two only to discover I’d missed a perfect opportunity to weave some important world building and characterisation in with the drama. Not blatantly, mind you. But kind of slant so it doesn’t hit the reader in the face as info dump. Well that’s my intention and at this point I’m confident it works, but I’ll need it to sit for a few weeks before I reread it.
Tomorrow it’s on to chapter 3, a difficult and pivotal chapter that I rewrote several times back in the day.