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Post-its and the second draft

Posted Mar 06 2013 10:13pm
Well, second draft of ‘Breaking Bread’ means post-it sorting. Last week I went from this
to these.
I know a lot of you are interested in my writing process, so I thought I’d explain what I did.
I went through the Post-its individually, and I sorted them into categories.
1. I put aside the ‘not relevant’ category. These are any notes that are now no longer necessary – ideas about character names that I’ve either used (so I don’t need them any more) or didn’t need, questions that I’ve already answered, duplications, and things that probably made sense when I put them up there, but I have no idea what I meant any more. There were 106 of them.
2. I have 50 notes in my ‘characters’ section (that’s the top section to the right of the door). There are eight characters; some have two notes, one has 13. These notes are questions or observations about each character which occurred to me as I was writing the first draft, but I might not have included. So whenever I write about that character, I’ll check these notes to see whether there’s something I need to incorporate.
3. There are 33 notes in my ‘timeline’ section, along the top of the other window. You can see I have five time periods; the notes relate to things that need to happen, or be mentioned, in each. Because with the first draft I wrote without editing, these are reminders of the bits that need to be fixed in the early part of the story so that the later part works.
4. I also have 22 notes of ‘information to include’. Most of these things are very mundane – like the correct plural of fuchsia (which is fuchsias, apparently, but I checked because I thought it might have been one of those sheep-like plurals, and I want to make sure I got it right when I hit that bit again). Then there are types of bread, a list of wine regions, sunrise and sunset times for different points in the year, all of which I need to incorporate in this draft.
5. There are 6 notes of ‘information needed’. Again, mostly mundane, although twitter and I quite enjoyed discussing the classier aftershaves and perfumes of the late 1980s.
6. I have 13 unresolved plot points to sort out; they have their own section of window.
7.  As do some phrases I like and might use (there are 10 of those).
8. There are 15 notes in the ‘themes’ section – not that there are fifteen themes (can someone pass my editor the smelling salts), there’s quite a lot of overlap; but those notes I made on the way through the first draft all have a slightly different take on the three (I think) themes I’m dealing with.
9. There are 6 notes that come under ‘Remember!’ – a ragbag of things I tend to forget, like describing what people look like, or being specific about the timeline.
10. And finally, the 31 notes on the door are possible chapter headings.
The sorting process took a couple of hours, if that, and they’ve given me a really good idea of what I need to do in the second draft. That’s 282 very useful little bits of paper, as far as I’m concerned. (Although I reserve the right to change my mind at 50,000 words. The first 15,000 are nearly ready to go out to my first readers, though.)
March 6, 2013
filed in Breaking Bread
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