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A week of drafts and draughts

Storms, sleet, and ice spread all over the country. It was everywhere apart from here. We had our snowfall on Wednesday. Earlier than expected with only our neighbours in Sutherland facing the same conditions.

You probably won’t have heard about it. It didn’t feature on any news reports or in the papers.

Living in a wee burgh you don’t expect to find yourself gridlocked with cars and confusion. However, that is exactly what happened. The snow came down and forgot to stop. Cars, buses, and lorries in the area slid off the roads or into each other.

Both the south and north exits into the town from the A9 were blocked. Carers walked their beats struggling in the storm to get to their clients. Nurses were picked up by ‘out of hours’ four by fours vehicles. Shovels, salt, and shoulders were all put to good use.

As we shivered in the cold draughts blowing through the house another sort of draft was nearing completion.

Blàs three, the first draft is finished. As the weather worsened the words came down on the last chapter. The end concluded, done.

Only it isn’t near completion. I have to rewrite the first half to reflect the change of emphasis and storyline that occurred about halfway through. This draft is also full of grammar and spelling mistakes, wrong word usage, and back-to-front sentences. In some places, it has just a single word. My mind would have been racing along therefore no time to stop and sort through my brain. Those words that I needed were hidden from me.

So I am back to chapter one and reediting from scratch. Fine if I can understand what I was meaning when I first wrote it down but when you come to a sentence that has ‘fresh – you know what I mean’ well I probably did when I first typed it but now have no clue. It will take some time to sort this all out.

As I have changed one of the elements I now have to find a way for the chapters at the beginning to fit in. The excuses for certain events taking place have to be considered again. For example, why a character was in a particular place or what was the reason for an individual taking that action.

It is not as if I haven’t experienced this before. It is the way I write. Blàs of the Highlands changed significantly and even Blàs Roots in the Soil suddenly took off about halfway through. There is something about getting to a certain chapter then out of the blue a storyline develops that changes the whole concept. The story then takes off and flows out. The tale concludes and it is back to the beginning to sort it all out again.

Time will slip by while I do this. This draft must be ready for a professional editor's eyes in the best shape it can be.

Still, I feel there is reason to celebrate the finishing of the story. Although to be honest I have never actually used the words ‘the end’ on completion. Perhaps it is because I know it is far from the end. It will take months before I am happy to send it off. Then some more as I consider the edits suggested. I have no idea how many drafts it will take before the realisation that the story is ready for readers.

I am considering counting how many times I redraft the story but realistically I know that is impossible. Would I count how many times I may change a line in a paragraph or a paragraph on a page? How often do I count changes within one chapter? Certainly, the draft is new once the changes are saved.

I’m lucky to live in a community I can count on to help each other out. My fictional community of Blàs reflects this. It’s a shame I don’t have any snow scenes in this latest trip to Blàs, I would have had so much material to consider.

Hopefully, this was the last storm we will see for a while although we have to remember it is only February. At least the draughts have disappeared and we are all snug again.

As to my Blàs draft well, I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

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