Tag Archives: reading

Advice on writing a 2nd draft?

In about a week’s time, I will print out the full first draft of my novel. My red pen will at the ready.

But then what?

Having not seen the first half of the novel for months, I’d like to read the entire thing straight through (as a reader would do) to get a feel for the full flow and rhythm of the story. But I’m also going to want to note down any clear changes that are required as I go along.

Maybe I can just underline or asterisk every amend that I spot – and then come back to make detailed notes later.

Or perhaps I should make proper notes as I go along as it’s important to capture my thoughts immediately. After all, I’m never going to be able to replicate that first read through.

So, my fellow writers… aspiring or pubished… I’ll take any advice you’ve got to chuck at me. Bring it on…

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My 34 favourite books (probably)

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I admit it: this is a completely self-indulgent post. Forgive me. I shall beat myself with copies of War and Peace, in penance.

One of the guys on my writing retreat asked the rest of us to choose our three favourite books for him to add to his reading list. Really? How am I supposed to pick only three? I thought I’d give it a go by writing down all of my favourite books with the aim of choosing three from there – and this is what I came up with.

I haven’t given any rationale or explanation for any of the choices here (but I’m more than happy to chat away for hours about any of them) and sure, I’ve probably accidentally missed some books off the list (but this ‘assembled-in-an-hour’ compilation is what I’m sticking with for now).

This is them in alphabetical order. Remember: ‘my favourite’ not ‘The Greatest™’. Be enraged, be dumbfounded, be supportive…

Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman (1983)

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (1995)

A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich (1935)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985)

Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe (1987)

Brilliant Orange by David Winner (2000)

But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer (1991)

Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (2001)

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

D-Day by Anthony Beevor (2009)

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (1992)

I Am Legend by Richard Mattheson (1954)

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor (2002)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)

Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2003)

Notes: The Making of Apocalypse Now by Eleanor Coppola (1995)

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (2000)

The Book of Dave by Will Self (2006)

The Crow Road by Ian Banks (1992)

The Dark Knight Returns by Mark Miller (1986)

The Kennedy Tapes by Ernest May, Philip Zelikow (1997)

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (2009)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)

The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (1979)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

The Sportswriter by Richard Ford (1986)

The Stand by Stephen King (1978)

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (2010)

The Wrench by Primo Levi (1978)

World’s End by T. C. Boyle (1987)