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10 December 2005 ·

December Deadlines

So much for my resolution about writing in this weekly! However I’m sure I’m not the only one finding that time flies at this time of year.

The first draft of the Nim’s Island sequel is done – but this is just my own first draft, not what I’ll show to my publisher. I’ve promised them a draft in mid January, when everyone returns from the Christmas break, so my aim is to finish my own second draft by Christmas, and then just tidy up the most obvious messy bits before handing it in. As usual, there are some fairly big plot changes between the first and second drafts. Some of them I saw when I read the first draft as a whole, and others became obvious as I got up to them in the rewrite – and since those ones weren’t planned ahead, I’ll have to go back and plant the seeds for them in the earlier chapters. The good thing is that these ideas always seem so exciting that it’s fun figuring out where and what these ‘seeds’ need to be.

And of course, some other ideas that also seemed wonderful at the time are being deleted when I read them and think, ‘that doesn’t make sense!’ or ‘Nim wouldn’t do that!’

In between working on Nim, in the last six weeks I’ve also done the edits for my Aussie Nibble, ‘Too Much Stuff’, and both the Australian and the US editions of ‘Mokie and Bik,’ as well as the author biographies and various marketing snippets for all of those and ‘Across the Dark Sea.’ Even though it’s easier to focus on one book at a time (in fact when I’m writing the first and second drafts it’s difficult to think about anything else!), these later drafts are fun because of the discussion with the editors. We don’t have to agree on every single point, but it’s always healthy to be challenged and think of a better way to say something – or sometimes, to look at what the editor suggests and think, ‘I wish I’d thought of that myself!’

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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio