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  1. #1
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    Advice on Drafts?

    So I'm currently 25k into the second draft of a novel that I've been actively focusing on for about a year now. I'm a full time nursing student working part time, so I haven't got tremendous amounts of time, but I sneak in what work I can.

    At any rate, I feel that the story isn't going in the direction I had envisioned, and I'm feeling the urge to scrap the current draft and begin again. The story feels like it's lacking conflict and there are several character aspects I want to revamp, but I realize there comes a point when you need to just stick with a draft and pound it out, come what may. However, I've gotten to the point that it's not interesting me anymore, and I know it's nearly impossible to infuse a story with believability if the author's not invested.

    So my question to you is: do I revamp, or do I tough it out and finish my current draft?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    I tend to be in the "scrap it and start again" camp. If the story isn't taking you where you want to go, you need to regroup. It might help to have someone else look at what you have first, though; it may be that you're just getting discouraged because of the time it's taking you to pull your story together. If nothing else, set it aside and play with another idea. You might come back to this one with a fresh perspective.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Gilfindel, I really appreciate your reply- it's always good to get someone else's perspective. I've decided to toss my current draft and start again, and I've already begun the revision stage. Hopefully I can finally get the issues sorted out this time around!

  4. #4
    Member K.S. Crooks's Avatar
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    When I was younger I used to love to read Choose Your Own Adventure stories. These are books where at certain points the reader is given choice for the characters to make. how the story proceeds is dependent on the choice you make. Why not take that approach for your draft. Whatever the major change in the story is make notes for the story to go in either direction and see which seems to flow better for you. When you say that the story isn't going in the direction you envisioned that is usually a goal a writer tries to achieve, to feel like the story is writing itself. If it is not interesting to you anymore then throw in a wrinkle like a death, new character or major obstacle and see if that renews your interest. Good luck, hope this sparks a few ideas.

  5. #5
    Rogue Mutt
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    Quote Originally Posted by K.S. Crooks View Post
    When I was younger I used to love to read Choose Your Own Adventure stories. These are books where at certain points the reader is given choice for the characters to make. how the story proceeds is dependent on the choice you make. Why not take that approach for your draft. Whatever the major change in the story is make notes for the story to go in either direction and see which seems to flow better for you. When you say that the story isn't going in the direction you envisioned that is usually a goal a writer tries to achieve, to feel like the story is writing itself. If it is not interesting to you anymore then throw in a wrinkle like a death, new character or major obstacle and see if that renews your interest. Good luck, hope this sparks a few ideas.
    I heard the guy who invented those books died recently. If only he hadn't chosen to go into the dungeon!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    I wrote four of those for my sons as they were growing up (although I called them "Follow-Me Adventures"). I should dig those up and see if I still think they're any good...

  7. #7
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    Go on

    I've been in the same boat as you. I got to a point where I did not know where my story was going, I wasn't even sure if it was interesting to anyone but now i am back on track. What I can tell you is this, don't toss your draft, don't ever toss any draft, instead, if you have the first draft at hand, go back to page 1 and work your way through it, editing as you go along until you find the point at which you feel your story veers off target then really work from there. This is what I did and it helped me from letting go of hours of work.
    Last edited by Pana; 12-06-2014 at 12:56 PM.

  8. #8
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    Great advice Pana- thanks for taking the time to post. I've gone back and reworked several places, and figured out mostly what needs to be fixed. I'm going to start a new draft, however, since the changes I've made would be too difficult to integrate into my current manuscript, but I'm definitely keeping the draft I already have for reference. I'll also probably pull some material from it so that I don't have to rewrite a couple scenes. I feel like I have it planned out a little more solidly now, so hopefully this time around it'll be more clear and conflict-driven like I want it to be. So thanks- I appreciate your advice!

  9. #9
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    Outline

    My best advice for you is to create an outline. Yes, I know reverting back to old English days when you have your English teacher yelling at you. However, if you do not already have an outline in your mind, write it out. The out line can be as intricate and full of information as you want. It will help you find out where you want to go and where you need to go. Once you find the area that is the problem, revamp that part of your manuscript.

  10. #10
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    Haha, Kessar, you're talking to a queen of outlines! Don't worry, you won't scare me off with talk of the "old English days" of outlines- I've always been an outline girl, and even in school I never dreaded them like some of my friends did. For my outlining process, I get together what I call manuscript folder. It includes a spiral notebook where I do the bulk of my writing, a folder I slip between the pages for loose papers and scraps of inspiration (pics, ect.), and a legal pad for a little extra room. I love it, because it can come anywhere with me and has all my book's info in one place.
    So, the problem isn't a lack of organization, I think, but rather not knowing exactly what elements I want to include. I'm forever coming up with "new and improved" ideas, and I've got just enough attention problems that I want to include them all. I think I've got it sorted this time around, though, since I've gotten rid of most of the extra ideas that weren't original to the story I started with and I've found the story I really want to tell with this book. Lol, "narrative streamlining" is my new mantra for this phase of my writing, and so far, it's been exceedingly helpful in cutting through all my misapplied layers and getting back to the real story I fell in love with a year ago.
    So thanks so much for your imput- outlining is always such good advice!

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