The Continuing Story of My Second Draft

‘Jack Built My House’ by Bryan Fink

I’ve posted several times about doing the second draft of my book.  This is the latest installment in the eighteen-month story of my efforts.

One word describes things at the moment.  Confused.

I’m adding others.  Messy.  I am okay with messy.  Messy happens in all my creating at some point.  It gives me possibilities.  Having been a neat and tidy child, as an adult I enjoy messy.  Also, I know how to go from messy to focused, a useful talent.

Another word.  Procrastinating.  Somehow, and I have said this before, other jobs and delights keep taking precedence over my second draft.  Strange how that happens.

Yesterday I am telling one of my fellow artist-writer friends about this.  We come to the conclusion I need to clear a chunk of time for only the draft.  Yes.  I do this.  Now marked off in my diary is February through May.  My friend will meet with me throughout this time to help me keep accountable to myself in getting the draft done.  Cool.

A third word.  Blind.  This draft feels like I’m doing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture from the box top to tell me how things should look.

I tell this to another artist-writer friend.  She talks about finding the arc of the story, a kind of outline.  Oh.

I know about outlines.  I tried one out at the start and it drove me crazy.  I learned I am a writer who feels her way through the story.  As Nanowrimo fans say, I’m a pantser, not a plotter.

I am very visual in my thinking.  My friend says ‘arc of the story’.  In response, I see the image of an arc drawn on a big sheet of paper, with me writing sticky notes all along it.  This makes sense.  A way of creating an outline that works for me.  Here is my picture of how things will look when I am done.  Yay!  The picture will likely shift as I go.  That’s okay.  I still have a picture to play with.

Another visual comes to me this morning before I begin writing my post.  Game boards.  Hopscotch grids.  Snakes and ladders.  Somehow, this is related to creating my second draft.  I’ve called my draft a puzzle before.  A game I get to play with.  I can keep moving the pieces around to feel where they fit.  My draft and book are not straight lines.

This, along with my arc of sticky notes, is starting to make sense to me.  A way to see my whole book.  An image of its structure.

This takes me back to my first word—confused.  My confusion comes from not having a visual of my book’s structure.  But with my arc of sticky notes and the somehow related game board image, I actually have a structure.  A visual outline I can work with.  I can feel it.  How awesome.

I have new words for writing my second draft.  Hopeful.  Possible.  Happening.

Thank you, my two artist-writer friends, for guiding me into a way to see and play with the structure of my book, and a way to get it done.


In this post, and other thoughts:

Nanowrimo. It’s starting November 1st!

I am not doing Nanowrimo this year.  Instead, I have an artist’s version of Nanowrimo happening—The Joy Diary, a solo show and artist residency where I am creating a drawing each day for twenty days, in public in the gallery.  An art show that is created during the art show.  Gallery visitors are invited to draw and/or write along with me, and we are going to hang their work with mine (if they want).  The creative process in action, which means I will be hanging whatever I draw, whether I think it’s a mess or a masterpiece.  Giving me and others permission to make mistakes and continue on anyways.  I’ll be posting jpegs of my drawings on my blog.  This is happening at The Station House Gallery in Williams Lake, BC, November 3rd through December 3rd, 2016.

For those who read my last week’s reading list, I am on the last ten pages of Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami.  So fun to read his two first short novels and experience his voice developing.  Inspiring to know, from this, that our unique voices are there in our writing from the beginning, if we trust ourselves and let them come through.

Other ‘Second Draft’ posts:   Lions and tigers and writer’s block   Second Draft, First Draft

‘Second Draft’ posts while doing Camp Nanowrimo:   The Inside Out Upside Down Draft   Postcard #1 – Permission   Postcard #2 – Be here now   Postcard #3 – Gifts and the Wrong Way Round    Postcard #4 – Start here   Postcard #5 – Singing my love song   Postcard #6 – Revising   Postcard #7 – Inheritance    Postcard #8 – In the middle of things



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