On Second Drafts

So, you’re a first-time novelist with a completed first draft of your book. Congratulations!  But even as you celebrate I bet that way back in the back of your mind, you’re already stressing over what to do next.  Some pruning and polishing?  Sure.  But … what else?

The answer is, a lot of things beyond basic editing: issues with the plot, setting, logic, managing character evolution and conflict, orchestrating the suspense, etc. And something called structure.

But the main source of the stress is probably something more basic: how do you know what your book needs?

The primary function of this FREE workshop is easing that stress, discussing a general approach to evaluating your work, assuring you that more detailed information is available, then giving each attendee enough time to ask about and join in a round-table discussion of the issues that are most important to each of you at that moment.

An overview of major editing issues, and some approaches to dealing with them, together with links and book titles that can aid you in finding the details you need, are provided in handouts.

In short, the workshop is like a one-session writer’s workshop on this specific topic. I share with you the issues, insights, and sources that I have discovered in my own quest for a second draft and ask you to share your thoughts on the subjects discussed.

The two-hour time frame is intended to provide 30 minutes for a general introduction plus allowing up to six attendees at lease fifteen minutes each to get help with their most pressing problems.

Though I’ve published stories and poetry and various other written work for most of my life, I’m a new novelist too. So I have faced fairly recently the same first-time structuring and editing issues as the attendees. I have conducted this workshop at science fiction conventions on at least five occasions in the past two years – leading the discussions, offering suggestions based on my own experience, and sharing references to useful information sources that I have found. The participants came away from the experience with greater confidence in their abilities and some useful approaches to handling the problems they have encountered. It is lovely to see their smiles.

Workshop Description:

This is a FREE two-hour round-table workshop, very informal, designed to answer questions and offer general guidance for a group of up to six new novelists who have completed the first draft of a novel and now face the challenges of a second draft.

Discussion topics include these Issues and subjects.
Related online resources are listed here.

The workshop, entitled After the First Draft: The Next Step for the Aspiring Novelist, may be offered at one or more conventions this year. For currently scheduled workshops, please click the Upcoming Events tab above.

Participation is limited to six, so everyone’s issues can be addressed.  Bring your questions, and sign up for the workshop as you register for the con.

Questions or comments?  Please leave a reply below.

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