When To Push Through A Draft

When To Push Through A Draft, Guest post by Amanda J. McGee

We all like to write when we’re inspired, but it’s no accident that writers often compare writing to pulling teeth. When you are less than inspired, the writing process feels a little like carving up pieces of yourself, slowly.

The tricky thing about this feeling, for me, is knowing when to listen to it. Sometimes, the writing is broken. You don’t feel inspired because you’ve misstepped somewhere along the way. Sometimes, you’re just in a sticky spot and things are hard. Which is it this time? If you don’t push through the rough spots on a project like a novel, you’ll never finish it. But there are times when even if you push through, it is not even close to what you meant to write. How can you tell? And what do you do if something is really broken?

When To Push Through A Draft, Guest post by Amanda J. McGee
To answer the first question, there’s one surefire way to tell if a story is broken. As the saying goes, if you’re bored, your reader is bored. If you read back through the draft and nothing speaks to you, or the parts that speak to you are not working with the rest of the story, you have a problem. The next step is diagnosis. For me, one of the most straightforward diagnosis tools is the outline. I will go through the story and outline each chapter, plotting it out, and identify if something is missing, or if it just doesn’t work. Then I will figure out what I can keep and what I can’t, and incorporate the things I am keeping into a new outline. After that it is about grooming and filling in the gaps. That is precisely the process I took with DAUGHTER OF MADNESS. I cut at least 20,000 words from the first draft in the rewrite, and filled in the gaps from scratch.

Rarely you just have to scrap a project. I once got about 30,000 words into a novel and realized that it just wasn’t going to work. I didn’t have a clear idea of where the story went next, and I wasn’t happy with where the story had been. I wasn’t even sure if the original story idea was still sound. In other words, there were major changes to be made, and probably only the setting itself remained usable. I have since trunked that story, though I hope to one day come back to the world, since I enjoyed playing in it. Often, if a project is not working, you haven’t let the idea percolate long enough. Give it some time to stew, and you might be able to make something of it after all.

I encourage people to push through a troublesome draft when they can, especially if it’s something you were really excited about. Sometimes the slump is just that, and the story will cohese at the end. If you write through, you at least have something you can edit and rewrite. If you never finish the story, you just have a blank page. The agony of pushing through is better than the disappointment of never finishing a piece.

Amanda J. McGee is fantasy author living in Southwest Virginia with the love of her life and two cats. She likes baking, gardening, and flights of fancy. You can find out more about her books and her blog at www.amandajmcgee.com.

Twitter: @skylit1
Facebook: facebook.com/amanda.mcgee13
Patreon: patreon.com/amcgee

Mother of Creation

Daughter of Madness

When To Push Through A Draft, Guest post by Amanda J. McGee


a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. Such a fabulous cover, I had to come over and say so. Thanks for the giveaway.
    sherry @ fundinmental


I love to hear from you. So feel free to comment, but keep in mind the basics of blog etiquette — no spam, no profanity, no slander, etc.

Thanks for being an active part of the Writers and Authors community.