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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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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