IWSG—June odds and sods

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIt’s time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month’s question is:

For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

The books I wrote on MacWriteII, ClarisWorks, and AppleWorks were inaccessible to me for up to a decade, due to being either stuck on obsolete file formats on disks or on an older desktop I didn’t bring over all the files from. Obviously, I finally learnt how to convert and open all those file types.

The ones created or saved in MacWriteII have/had a lot of bizarre formatting issues caused by data migration; e.g., floating chunks of text that belong elsewhere in the document and need to be C&Ped back together in their proper order (often breaking off in the middle of words or sentences!), gibberish at the beginning, words I taught the ’93 Mac’s spellcheck, text from files on other disks, symbols in the middle of words, repeated letters, huge indents. That needed addressed before I could even begin editing and assigning them places in my long queue.


As I’ve said many times, it was a blessing in disguise that the original files of Little Ragdoll were held hostage for so many years. There was no way I could’ve salvaged even a halfway decent story by writing around this Grimms’ fairytale on acid. I needed a complete rewrite from scratch and memory, though I kept the same general outline.

Being away from a story for 5–10 years provides one with a whole new set of eyes. Now, I like to wait at least a few months before diving back in. When we begin editing and revising too soon, we’re often blind to mistakes both big and small.

I learnt a big lesson from my mad dash to the finish with And Aleksey Lived in 2018. Since there was almost no time between the day I wrote the last word in the final appendix and the release date, I had to fly through with proofreading. A lot of little errors also turned up in the first printed edition, which I thankfully was able to correct for free.

I’m doing JuNoWriMo for I believe the sixth year, though I’m not hopeful of reaching 50K. All part of the joy of being stuck in a home not my own, with the local libraries still not open to more than brief browsing, and in an open concept house that makes privacy all but impossible. </extreme sarcasm>

I’ll be using June to work on my radical rewrite of the book formerly known as The Very Last, start my new alternative history, and do my final proof-check of the third edition of Little Ragdoll. I also count blog posts as creative non-fiction.

After daydreaming about this for at least 20 years, I’ve finally begun the process of applying to make aliyah (move to Israel). I came up with a lot of stupid excuses and reasons to postpone it, and even let my now-ex talk me out of it. Unfortunately, I’ve aged out of a lot of great opportunities, like work-study programs and volunteering on most kibbutzim.

I’ll be discussing this much more in future posts. If all goes well and I’m approved, I should be there by next summer. Though I used to want to live in Haifa, my dream city now is Tiberias in the Lower Galilee.

In response to the awful events of May, I’ve changed my Twitter display name to my Hebrew name, Chana Esther Dafna.

What are your summer writing plans?

11 thoughts on “IWSG—June odds and sods

  1. It’s so easy for files to become outdated and I think that process is going to speed up. I still make a hard copy when I come to final drafts. I catch things in print that I don’t on the computer, and if I do have to let a manuscript sit a long time, print never becomes obsolete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a technological nightmare! I tried to convert a manuscript from an early version of WordPerfect from a floppy disc (yeah, I know, back in the dinosaur age) and it was a riddled mess. And even flash drives are not without issues.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s amazing what you see when you take years away from a novel. I’ve done that a few times, and it’s like reading someone else’s book.
    That’s not my usual way of doing things either, but it also helps you see how much you’re grown in your writing.
    I’m really excited to hear more about your move to Israel. Good for you for not putting it off any longer!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve looked back at my old writing and cringed. Years do help to let us see how much we’ve improved, and I’m happy you’ve seen improvement in your own work.

    Best of luck with your move. I’m glad you’re following your dreams!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good luck with your move! I’ve lost a few stories to being on an old floppy. Luckily, it was mostly short stories.

    Shannon @ The Warrior Muse (it defaults to my podcast). thewarriormuse [dot] com

    Liked by 1 person

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