Wednesday, 19 January 2011

How many drafts must a woman write ... before she throws herself off the pier?

I read an interview view Susan Hill in the latest issue of Mslexia. She only ever does one draft of a novel. She goes back to correct, check and edit, but she never rewrites.

I'm totally the opposite, at least when it comes to REPLACING ANGEL, the novel I've been working on since October 2007. My first draft was just a mess of words, me spewing out what I wanted to say. In the second draft I tried to make sense of what I wanted to say, in the third draft I tried to find some kind of plot ... The fourth and fifth drafts were about defining the characters and their motivations. And the sixth draft which I completed a couple of days ago was all about ...

Cutting. 104 000 words became 84 000 words. So you might think that I've spent two intense week in Novelland just deleting words ... but it's not that easy. Cutting also means restructuring, and even adding scenes to make sense of the story. I'm happy with it now, and I'm hoping that I won't have to make more than 8 drafts! There's some interest from an agent, and he was the one who pointed out that the first third of the novel was too slow, hence the cutting ...

What I'm working on right now is the title. REPLACING ANGEL has too many associations to fantasy, Buffy the Vampire etc. As it's more of a gritty realism book I need to find something more appropriate.

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