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How to Write a Novel in Six Months, Week 18 Drafting Update: Plugging Along

Updated on November 17, 2008

This was a good week, however I fell a bit behind on my drafting. The main theme of my novel writing these days is confidence. Maybe too much so! I’m starting to realize that the energy and enthusiasm level is bound to change over time during an extended process like writing a novel and that’s okay! There’s no doubt in my mind now that this book will be complete and I can realistically start planning for the next stages of editing and selling.

Planning Time to Edit

Drafting almost daily has become such a habit that it’s hard to imagine what I’ll do with those extra hours come January. Oh wait – I’ll be editing! I haven’t done too much research on how to approach the editing process and I’m taking suggestions! The only thing I know so far is that I’ll be letting the manuscript sit for a week while I visit family, and then I plan to sit down and read it at a single sitting to make notes.


This is terrifying because this is the stage at which I pretty much abandoned the last novel. I don’t expect that to happen (hope or pray?) because I know this novel has a lot less wrong with it than the last. Still, I know it’ll have a lot wrong! I’m thinking it’ll take a lot of mental preparation to read my work objectively and technically. If anyone has a suggestion as to how to do this, please let me know. I’m sure you’ll see your suggestions in the next series, which will be on editing!


Filling In and Fleshing Out

One problem I’ve noticed as I’ve been writing this draft is that I have focused so much on the scenes and moving the story forward through action that I’ve left out a lot of the type of setting and character detail that doesn’t easily fit into an action sequence. Lucky for me, I have a supportive group of writers, some of whom are really good at this – so I’m taking notes!

I also have a lot of minor characters. I wasn’t sure how this would work out, I sort of like having a bunch of people running around my story. Most of them are members of groups of people and really need to be there to create a realistic rendition. Of course, that means I need to work hard to make sure they are identifiable and serve a purpose in the narrative. I know these types of things will weigh heavily in the initial edit.

I’m upping my page count this week to try and get ahead of the holidays! Wish me luck – I’ll need it!


How to Write a Novel in Six Months, One Writer’s Journey

Week 1, Mapping Out the Six Month Plan

Week 2, Resources on Structure

Week 3, Index Cards Are My Friends

Week 4, Sketching Characters

Week 5, Researching Agents

Week 6, Outlining

Week 7, Detail Scene Beats

Week 8, Writing the Synopsis

Week 9, Drafting Update

Week 10 Drafting Update

Week 11 Drafting Update

Week 12 Drafting Update

Week 13 Drafting Update: Writer’s Block Week 14 Drafting Update: Appreciating Plot and an Awful First Draft

Week 15 Drafting Update: Formulas and White Space

Week 16 Drafting Update: Looking for an Agent


Week 17 Drafting Update: Confessing I Didn’t Write This Week


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  • Lela Davidson profile image

    Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Thanks for your comments ladies! Denise, how exciting to have an excerpt published! And Serenity, thanks for the tip about the King book. I've read it but didn't remember him covering editing - does he even have to do that???


  • Serenity Live profile image

    Serenity Live 9 years ago from Midwest

    When I realized my word count on my novel recently I was ecstatic. I hadn't realized I had come that far. But then, I haven't worked on it since! Good for you for setting a goal and sticking to it. That's the key. So many people think they could easily write a book, and probably many people could. But not nearly that many people actually do.

    I'm not a fan of too many voices in your head when you start to edit. But if you trust one person to go through it for you, do that. My mom (also a writer) read my memoir. We sat down together and went through it page by page with her suggestions. I don't know how I could have truly started the editing process without that input. But after that one sitting, I trusted my own instincts again. It's your story after all.

    And here's a great tip to include in your Hubs about the editing process. Have a "deleted scenes" file on your computer. If entire paragraphs (or pages) just aren't working, don't be afraid to cut them completely. Save them in the deleted scenes folder, and you can always bring them back later if you were wrong. It makes the decision to cut much easier, and you will usually find that what's cut isn't missed.

    If you haven't read Stephen King's book "On Writing", I definitely suggest it. I remember he had some good advice on the editing process. Good luck on the big finish, Lela! If you're like me you'll dance around the house like a mad woman just having finished a rough draft.

  • denise mohan profile image

    denise mohan 9 years ago from California

    Good outline. I am also writing a novel and an excerpt is being published in a magazine next month...I hope. I will keep checking your log. good luck and stick with your dream.