Jennifer Young

Available now from Cinnamon Press

Heat, Edits and Sighs: Reading the full novel draft

For National Writing Day (in the middle of a UK heatwave) I spent hours in my kitchen reading through a printout of the first full draft of my second novel, The Running Lie. I tend to write and edit endlessly on my phone, so the chapters themselves aren't first drafts, but reading the novel as a whole makes a diference. For instance, I realised chapter 11 is massive (51 pages)!

Primarily, I started a list of 'papering over' scenes - small transitions in and out of scenes or tiny gaps within scenes. My ideas for scenes almost always start with a line of dialogue. This is all well and good in a draft, but for the final version most scenes require a bit more set up!

Other tasks include finding a specific type of rose someone can argue passionately about, adding some clothing descriptions and picking a street in Hampstead for a character's flat. And finally, making sure no character sighs - or smiles - too much. 

A good day's work though, particularly for the hottest day of the year!