5 ideas for getting a fresh perspective on a first draft

Reflection in a christmas tree baubleI’m still here, still writing, or rather re-writing. It’s going slowly but – this is more important – it’s still going!

I’m going to be away visiting family for most of the Christmas vacation so there will be little more than snatched moments to do any writing. I’ve therefore stockpiled some exercises or challenges that I can try in limited time but which will hopefully help me take a fresh look at my first draft. I thought I’d share a random collection:

  1. This was written as a “New Year Resolution” post on the great “Writer Unboxed” blog last year – it challenges you to explore the bigger picture of your novel: http://writerunboxed.com/2014/01/01/novel-resolutions/ It also gets you to think about similar novels in your genre, which reminded me of this post: http://www.livewritethrive.com/2014/08/25/nailing-your-novels-genre-in-your-opening-scene/ (Another challenge if you’re up for it!)
  2. Problem scenes? Another one from “Writer Unboxed”, this has a great exercise to focus on a scene and give it a boost: http://writerunboxed.com/2014/07/02/infused/
  3. Spend a little time with your secondary characters: not an exercise as such but reading through this gave me the impetus to go back and work them out a little more fully: http://www.livewritethrive.com/2014/08/13/characters-in-novels-that-are-allies-and-reflections/
  4. If you have a plot that feels saggy or challenged, how about trying to fit it into the classic mould: http://storyfix.com/easy-approach-story-building-bedtime-story-model
  5. Three ideas for tackling an edit from the excellent Fiction University blog: http://middlegrademafia.com/2014/12/08/top-three-revision-tips-from-fiction-universitys-janice-hardy/ The transitions between scenes is something I need to focus on.

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