2013: From Draft 1 to Draft 3

Looking back on the year, the first thing I notice from my blog is that I haven’t written a post since the beginning of November. Not good. Second, I have not written anything about my own work since, let’s see, October. Not good, at all.Pintrest Book in You

I could moan. No problem. But I won’t. I did actually accomplish something in that period: I finished my third draft, just before Xmas. That was my plan earlier in the year – although it may originally have been to finish the novel completely, but that was a bit naive!

I’m relatively happy at the end of Draft 3; happy that I have made it into a coherent (I think) story, albeit with a lot of work yet to be done. More fundamental/structural work lies ahead and hard decisions will probably need to be made, I feel. But at least it is a working manuscript.

This time last year I was on the verge on finishing Draft 1. When I did it stood at 150,000 words, but it was all over the gaff. Draft 2 was completed by April, which essentially involved crudely hammering it into some sort of shape, with the word count standing at 135k. It took me from then to December to complete the third draft, which does seem like a long time. The novel now stands at circa 96k.

In Aug/Sept I made the decision to put in a submission for the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair http://writerscentre.ie/novelfair/novel-fair-2014/, deadline mid October. Rewriting the first five chapters, getting opinions from readers, took me a good month or more. And that was before I tackled the synopsis. I had heard about the hell this could bring on all who dared, but it still didn’t prepare me. On the final day of the deadline I got it all done. News of successful applicants is to be announced by Jan 24, so we’ll see….

I haven’t done much since finishing the third draft really. I am finding it hard to motivate myself/find the time. There is another competition I should enter, the Debut Daggers in Britain http://www.thecwa.co.uk/index.php. The deadline is later this month. I’m not sure why I’m not rushing to enter, but there is a gnawing doubt about my work that is holding me back. There is also the dread of tackling the synopsis again, with a longer one required for this competition.

I’ve no idea what 2014 will bring. But my work is in a far better state now than a year ago. So, say by 2018, it could be just ready!

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About Cormac O'Keeffe

I am writing my first novel. Still. Well, I've finished it. I think. To tell you the truth, I've finished it so many times, I'm not sure anymore. In fact, I'm currently back finishing it again. It's a crime novel, an authentic gangland thriller set in Dublin. Including all the finishing, I've been at it for almost six years now. I've got a fair bit of good feedback and some requests for full manuscripts. But no one was bitten, yet. Where it will end up, who knows. This blog is about my journey. And other things, like fiction reviews and non-fiction reviews, many of them published in the Irish Examiner, a daily national newspaper in Ireland. I work as crime and drugs reporter there, and have been since around 2001. Both my personal life and my professional life have fed into my novel, or, rather, have poured into it. My novel was granted a literature bursary by the Irish Arts Council in September 2014 and my journalistic work has won multiple awards from the Law Society of Ireland over many years, most recently in 2015.
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