Veronique Darwin

The Drafts of my Novel

In My Writing on April 23, 2012 at 1:27 am

Draft 1: Completed in two months. Written at high speed, at five pages per day. Displayed in two binders: one hot pink, one silver. Feeling of completion and pride and horror at the thought of having to look back at any of it.

Stop and do in depth character sketches. Ask myself what I know about things like Nelson, BC and parents dying in a car accident. Go on a trip to the East coast.

Draft 2: Completed in five months. Written at a lagging pace, at two to three hours per day. Shoved into one large white binder. Feeling of frustration and disorientation and alarm.

Stop and read a book about Gaelic folktales. Change parents dying to parents living, and the second half of the book to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Make a wall-sized plot diagram because it takes time.

Draft 3: Completed in three months. Written at a dogged pace, at an average of three hours per day. Large white binder with loose-leaf notes slotted in after each page. Feels thick, substantial. Feeling of a somewhat frenzied control.

Stop and use scissors and glue to create a craft project out of my novel. Use enigmatic Word files to confuse myself into feeling like I’m accomplishing editing: “Green Add Ons,” “Scotch Tastes,” “Bits for Later.” Start a blog.

Draft 4: Underway. Feeling of pressure and urgency at having just announced another draft completion to people who don’t know why I’m celebrating. What is a draft? I don’t know. I printed something.

  1. Love these novel drafts, with pictures. Your process is uniquely your own and it is sacred. Good for you!

    • Thank you, Lisa. I’d love to hear about your own process. I remember when you came into the coffee shop to write and I asked you what it was you were writing and you were always editing your novel. And I thought, how much editing can one person do to one book? Now I realised a lot. I’m glad to hear you got published and there’s an end point! 🙂

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