Short, Sweet Celebration!
By Anne Hawkinson
Completing the first draft of a story is something to celebrate. I forged ahead many times when it would be easier to “Select All”, “Delete,” and watch a Netflix movie. Or go out with friends. Or have a nap. I created a beginning, middle, and end. I did the “Yes!” cheer and gesture like Erica Berry did in “Something’s Gotta Give.” My daughter sent me flowers. I had about a day to bask in my accomplishment.
Then I came back down to Earth.
Time for draft number two. After meeting with my writing coach/editor, we devised a plan of action which I’m in the process of implementing. Parts of the story will need to be re-written, but there are some scenes which are still relevant, charming, and vital to the story itself that will remain (although if you’re like me, you change at least something every time you do a re-write). Some stuff I want to keep because it’s my story and if it means enough to me, I’ll make sure it has a relevant and meaningful role to play.
I write for middle-grade readers, so I can’t afford to spend a lot of time enjoying the scenery or mulling over that figure moving through the shadows. Young minds want to know what’s next. I need to keep them turning the pages!
I’m using an outline format for this draft. I’m creating every scene that way to ensure I’ve got the plot points covered and that they make sense/are relevant to the story. I love outlines! I wish I’d thought of this before, but at least I know now, and I think future stories are going to be easier to write because of the layout I’m using and the plot clock I’m following.
I like outlines because I don’t have to have it all figured out right away. I can get the major ideas down and look forward to the fun of “dressing them up” when I get in front of my computer to write. I think it will be easier for me because I’ll already know where the story is going, I’ll know that the vital plot points have been covered, and there won’t be any gaping holes to patch. No surprises for me, but hopefully a lot for the reader. I’ll type up the scenes on my computer – it’s the quirky, need for structure and organization side of me. At this point, I’m really enjoying working them out with paper and pencil, propped up in bed, at the end of the day.