Writing Update #5

Patrick very happy that my break means I can spend more time with him.

For the past five weeks I've been taking a break from my WIP to get some feedback from people I trust and to give myself some head space from the story. By doing so, I completely forgot that my writing updates go up on the 20th of the month and for some reason thought it would be the 27th... I think I've taken this whole break thing a little too seriously.

Since 20th April, I've been to the London Marathon to cheer on my best friend Lucy, handed in my dissertation which is my first two chapters of my WIP, finished editing draft three and immersed myself in other people's stories. It's been great.

But, on a writing note, taking a break has been the best. After I blasted through draft three, there seemed to be no other way to approach draft four. I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn't see the flaws clearly and objectively. I needed to walk away far enough to let the doubts creep in and for me to question everything. I couldn't do this on my own though. If it were all down to me and my doubts then I would probably end up changing the wrong things or overthinking parts that I didn't need to (there is such a thing as over-editing). 

I sent off my third draft to 10 people. They vary in gender, age, nationality, creative writing experience and reading tastes and I contacted them in the hopes I'd get some all-round feedback. So far, I have three responses and they focus on different aspects of the draft. While one person looked specifically at spelling, grammar and the technical side of my writing, the other two focused on the story. Some of my feedback includes chapter ratings. With every chapter marked out of 10, it becomes clear where the weaker points are, and where I'm already conveying everything I need to. Again, that top tip came from Steve Voake (legend). A big thank you to those reading my draft and sending on their feedback!

I've already started making notes on the structural changes I'm planning on making and the editing of draft four will begin on Monday. I'm terrified. In some ways, this feels like a bigger job than the first draft or the first edit. This is the time to get it right. The pressure is on.

So, sorry Patrick this is the end of a relaxed month spent together. No more making vegan pizzas from scratch and binge-watching Are You The One? I'm off to the Italian countryside tomorrow where I can get stuck into my editing. 

See you all next month!

Love, Jess

Talk to me on twitter @JessikahHope

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