Tom Palmer's writing blog - How I write: how you write. Part Six
Posted by Tom Palmer
13 Jun 2011
“My first draft is about me writing a story – the second draft is about me making it into a story someone else will want to read”
I have finished the first draft of The Squad: Black Op, the opening book in my series about a group of children who play football for England and are also spies.
The first thing I do when I have finished the first draft is to send it to several people whose opinions I trust. They read the book and tell me what they like about it and what they don’t like about it. Some are adults and some are children.
I always ask them to be as critical as possible. I want to know anything that they think I can do to make the story better, so that when people read it they enjoy it as much as possible.
These are the things they said about Black Op:
- although four of the main characters seem realistic, one of them doesn’t seem very real
- some of the background to the story is very complicated and I need to explain it more clearly
- I start too many sentences with ‘And’
- there are too many short sentences and it makes it hard to read
- one of the readers didn’t understand why the children were spies in the first place
- they also went through the story and spotted all the places where I made mistakes, or used lazy words or where I got facts wrong
All of these comments were really useful. It has helped me decide what to do. I have a month to make the changes.
I think the important things are that I need to make sure all the characters are believable and that I need to go through the book word-for-word to iron out some of the problems they highlighted.
When I go into schools teachers often ask me to explain to children that I have to rework a lot of the writing that I do, because they want you to do that with your school work.
One thing I say to that is that my first draft is about me writing a story – the second draft is about me making it into a story someone else will want to read. And that means explaining myself better and removing all the bits that don’t make sense.
Schools Network members can also download a classroom activity related to this blog entry. View.
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