Project January

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This is the titular chapter from my latest book, Project January: A Sequel About Writing.

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If you’ve read my book Project December: A Book About Writing or the various Project… blog posts on this blog, then you’ll know Project October is about intensive writing, Project November is about editing and revision, and Project December is about getting your book published. And, of course, I hope it makes sense that Project January is about starting all over again.

The pride and relief at finishing and finally publishing a book is wonderful. But the realisation that all that hard work, all the blood, sweat and tears that it took, all the back and forth, all of the begging for beta readers, all the doubt and belief and doubt again, the realisation that all of it simply rewinds to deposit you back at the beginning again can be hard.

Some people only want to write one book, only have one book in them. If that’s you and you’re okay with it, great. For the rest us who don’t want to be one-book wonders, we’re confronted with an entirely different set of problems from when we began writing our first books. So here are a few things to consider to help get you back on track to another Project October, Project November and Project December. Continue reading

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My own Project November (hell)

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In my book Project December and in a March blog post, I outlined what I call Project November – how to approach a rewrite after finishing the first draft of your novel. To briefly recap, the steps were:

• Accept that change is required
• Ask for beta feedback
• Walk away (AKA take a break)
• Come back at least a month later (AKA read it yourself)
• Give careful consideration to all the feedback you receive from your beta readers
• Cut, cut, cut
• Add, add, add
• Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite

I’m now doing Project November for Black Spot, which I’m planning to release later this year. Continue reading

Project November

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Despite the fact that it’s March, I’ve just completed another month of intensive novel writing (which you will all know by now I like to call Project October). I mentioned last year that I would put together some tips for Project November, which is what to do once you’ve finished the first draft of a novel that results from a successful Project October.

There are many writers who bemoan contemplating the blank page as the hardest part of the writing process but I think the challenge of reviewing, reshaping and rewriting can be just as difficult, especially if you are so blinded by the achievement of finishing a first draft that making changes seems almost sacrilegious.
So here are a few suggestions for turning a raw first draft into a polished gem. Continue reading