Writing a novel is a long haul.

I know. I’ve been writing my novel since 2010 (at least).

But I recently started an exercise that I hope will become a monthly routine and help me finish the second draft of my novel.

On the first of the month, I printed out my entire second draft. I’m only fifty pages into the story and so that is what I printed and had bound. I never realized how refreshing and different the experience would be. A much better choice than reading it off my computer screen.

But apart from enjoying holding my unfinished bound book(let), it allowed me to see what I’m doing right and more importantly what needs work.

Going through my draft, I marked up the copy with my pen. I’ll have to go back when I’m done and make the amendments to the computer version of my story. But my story will already be better – or maybe just more grammatically correct.

But there’s a more important advantage that I found. Once that actually helps me weave my story.

Going through my hardcopy draft, I began highlighting the hints that I hope to develop further in the story. I then started a new document, titled “hints” and started listing the passages I highlighted. The idea, of course, is to print out the hints document and use it to further my story and keep the plot tight.

If you use this exercise, I’d love to know how it works out for you or if you have a different exercise that helps you weave your story, I’d love to hear about it.