Progress progresses

It’s Saturday morn­ing again — blog time — and, when I cast my eye over the writ­ing week, I find that all my efforts have gone into rewrit­ing the early sec­tions of Proper Job. Goodbye to the chase scene, and hello to a scene in which the prot­ag­on­ist, Fabe, makes a dis­astrous play for Penelope, who forms a par­tic­u­larly sharp corner of the love tri­angle at the centre of the book.

I’m using a time-con­sum­ing and ancient tech­nique known as draft­ing. For those who have only ever used word pro­cessors, a quick his­tory les­son: Once upon a time, writers would write a draft of story — often on a type­writer, but some­times (yikes) with a pen or pen­cil — and, after col­lect­ing some feed­back about the draft, would sit down and com­pletely rewrite it.

Quaint though it is, I like the idea. Ken Follett still does it. He prints out a draft, puts it next to the com­puter, and rewrites the thing from scratch using the first draft as a guide. It is time-con­sum­ing but very use­ful in catch­ing all man­ner of prob­lems with the manu­script. In addi­tion, fail­ing to re-insert some­thing is easi­er than actu­ally delet­ing it, and since the edit­ing pro­cess, for me, is chiefly one of dele­tion, this can only be bene­fi­cial.

Once I’ve ironed out some typos, I’ll repaste the first chapter here and you can get a fla­vour of how the nov­el is evolving.

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Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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