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  • Heather McQuillan

time to start the restart!

Today marks two months since I started my residency in Dunedin. It also marks the day that draft one of my novel is completed. My fastest first draft ever! Waking up most mornings and getting right into the writing, because that's my paid job, is just the motivation required for a girly-swot!

It's also been easier because my brain readily and willingly, even cheerfully, turns to the story in a room (cottage) alone, or walking, or sitting in a patch of nearby bush with the birdsong. No, actually the birdsong is distracting! A room. Alone. I recommend it.

Having the first draft down means the story is clear in my head. It means I know my characters and what they are going through. I understand the truths and the lies. My task now is to ensure that those things are clear for my readers. I have some work to do to flesh out some minor characters, to check consistency and magnify the key moments. And to cut cut cut. I also have a lot of post-it notes to attend to.

Although I love the "making stuff up" part of the process, I've come to relish the problem-solving aspects of redrafting. I get a tremendous buzz foreshadowing and reincorporating, setting up clues and restructuring scenes to lead readers along. So this week I start the restart!

And now I'm no longer alone. I'm so lucky to have an amazingly talented beta reader/ sensitivity reader. I know she'll challenge me and I'm ready for it! Terrified, but ready. My reader has only read the first few chapters so far and I admit I did a little dance when I received her initial response "This book is very funny!" Phew. Not that I want that to last but my gorgeous girls are hilarious.... and tragic. I love them both. But can I save them both?

(c) Heather McQuillan 2021

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