WRITING IS REWRITING! – SECOND DRAFT RETREAT :)

View from Springbrook retreat

Every writer knows the first draft is only a small part of the work involved in bringing a story to publishable standard. As Ernest Hemingway once famously said, “All first drafts are crap!” (I may be paraphrasing a little :)).

So how do we take a crappy first draft to something publishers are going to fight over? Rewriting! Or if we’re lucky just redrafting – though let’s face it if you’re a pantster like I was, you may have to write whole new sections. Twice I’ve cut back first drafts of 100 000+ words to 30 000 then rewrote the rest!

Ernest Hemingway – redrafting?

How do you self-edit?

The first step of any rewrite is the structural edit.

This looks at how the main elements of our story are working: characters, setting, voice, genre-expectations and plot. Mainly plot! 

The best place to start is with a scene list – not just chapter headings but a list of every scene within every chapter. Include which characters are involved, where it’s set, what’s happening (clue – if nothing’s happening – cut now!) and the main focus of the scene, plus whether the scene is moving us towards Hope or Fear. Go through the whole manuscript and you’ll come up with a list of potentially hundreds of scenes.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Once you have this list it’s much easier to see any repetition, or worst of all, completely unnecessary scenes that are neither developing or illustrating character or moving the plot forward. This is when we press DELETE. Or, for chickens like me, this is when we cut these scenes and paste them into another document called “Good bits I may use later.” I have a few of these documents now for various projects and mostly they remain unused, but occasionally I’ll go back in and pull out a section that has become relevant again.

Your scene list will show you where your story starts to sink in the middle or if a character who was pivotal in the first half fades away in the second. You’ll be able to tell if a character is suddenly acting completely differently to who they were earlier, of if they have taken up too much page space – this often happens when we just go with the flow and let bossy or forceful characters have their way. 

Oh yes, those bossy characters may kick up a stink.

A scene list makes it easier to find any plot holes or if you’re building enough suspense or just having characters repeat themselves over and over without growth or change.

What tricks do you have up your sleeve to help you tackle the dreaded, but actually fun, second draft?

Have you got a project nearing the stage when it needs a proper evaluation and an objective rethink?

Writers hard at work on their redrafts at the last Second Draft retreat!

If so, come along and join us at Springbrook in the rainforest covered mountains behind the Gold Coast in Queensland for a cosy winter SECOND DRAFT RETREAT – AUGUST 12 – 14.

Come and join the fun!

This special retreat, for women and non-binary writers with a project needing attention, has workshops to help you tackle the second draft, focusing on finding the heart of your story, distilling the themes, the structural edit, and plenty of tips to help with line editing and pitch documents too.

All in a stunning location with cosy single rooms with desks, beauty and peace, like-minded folk to share your story with in feedback groups, fantastic food and lots of fun. 

For only $440 if you book before June 30 2022. See more information about the retreat and other retreats coming up HERE.

Or drop me a line for more information.

The second draft needn’t be a scary or lonely experience. Come along on retreat, connect with other writers, and get a head start on the next stage of your project.

What tips do you have for tackling the second draft (or third fourth or hundredth for that matter!).

Hope you can make it to retreat – we always have a wonderful time 🙂

More lovely retreaters 🙂

Lots of love,

Edwina xx

RELAX AND WRITE RETREAT 2018

sunset evans head

YAY! Dates are now set for the next Relax and Write Retreat!
Friday March 16 – Monday 19th 2018
Feeling like you deserve a special treat this Christmas?
This retreat may be just the ticket.
Three nights away in a beautiful beachside location with like-minded women, relaxing with gentle yoga and inspiring your inner writer with fun writing workshops.
It will still be lovely and warm in March so bring your swimmers and sunblock. We’ll be staying at the beautifully basic Camp Koinonia in Evans Head, Northern NSW

relax writers outside

So, whether you’re a writer in need of relaxation and a good stretch, or a yoga practitioner yearning to write, this is the retreat for you.
Here’s what participants from the 2017 retreat had to say…
“Edwina and Helena have an easy style of putting people at ease and making each individual feel welcome and they were flexible in altering the program to meet the needs of the participants.”
“It was a great break away, affordable and I left feeling refreshed and with a significant amount of writing done.”
“I came away with a lot of information about entering into the field of professional writing as well as a wealth of ideas and starting points for fiction and memoir writing.”

Also announcing our MORE DASH THAN CASH positions. Would you love to do a retreat like this but don’t have the available funds right now? We know what that’s like (and we need some helpers!) so we’ve created a couple of sponsored positions.
Apply for one of our supported spots where for a few hours assistance with kitchen and other duties you can join us at a greatly reduced cost.

For more information and to book please contact Helena:
helenapastor2@gmail.com or
phone 0447 334 665

relax and write yoga

So, come along and join our merry band of scribes and mermaids. Relax, write and enjoy yourself in a beautiful coastal setting with experienced workshop facilitators and published authors Helena Pastor and Edwina Shaw – see their bios HERE.
Unwind with yoga and free your creative voice with lots of fun writing activities and workshops. All only a minute’s walk from a glorious beach surrounded by national park where you can swim, walk, laze in the sun or meditate to your heart’s content.
Pick up from Coolangatta or Ballina airports is available if you’re coming from afar.
PROGRAM for March 2018
Friday
2 pm onwards – checking in
5:30 – meet and greet, drinks and nibbles
6:30 – Deep relaxation and introductory writing exercises
7:30 – Dinner
Saturday
7:30 – 9 am – Gentle morning yoga and breathing exercises with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Writing Your Way into a Story – Helena
FREE TIME FOR LUNCH AND BEACH ACTIVITIES
3:30 – 5:30 – Using yoga and drama techniques for developing your characters – Edwina
7pm – dinner
Open Mic Night. If you would like to, please bring along a song or other musical item, a poem, a short performance piece or whatever else you would like to share 
Sunday
7:30 – 9 am – Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Structuring for Suspense – Edwina
Excursion to Chinaman’s Beach for picnic lunch and freewriting
4pm – 6 pm – Writing Dialogue – Helena
7 pm – dinner
Monday
7:30 – 9 am – Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Pitching your work – from bios to synopses to grant applications – E and H
Feedback and farewells.
For more information and to book please contact Helena:
helenapastor2@gmail.com or
phone 0447 334 665

Helena and Edwina photoCome along and join the fun. We’d love to have you with us.
Get in fast. Places are strictly limited to no more than 15 places.