During the lockdown, I wrote 60,000 words of my children's fiction book. It wasn't a consistent process and as such, it has many inconsistencies and obsolete scenes.

At the moment, the draft looks like a mess of unrelated scenes. How can I put the scenes together into a cohesive whole? I am happy to rewrite the whole thing, but how can I decide which parts of my writing are good and which should be dropped?


2 Answers 2


Do a reverse outline from what you have.

Read the draft and identify the scenes-- briefly. Do it with a short phrase for each scene that will trigger your memory. Put each scene/phrase on one card.
Or use excel or some other program if you must. Then look at the collection of scenes and place them in the best sequence from start to finish.

I find cards easier for this. You may find cut and pasting better.

Now look for holes that are missing to make the set of entire scenes fall like dominoes when you read through them in sequence.

Also look for errors in scenes and fix those; as well as looking for needless side trip down rabbit holes which add nothing and toss those.

When you have all the scenes lined up in logical sequence with nothing missing and nothing extraneous, so they flow naturally from start to finish then you can start writing.

Of course use any existing text that you have that matches a scene that is still there, and modify it as necessary to fix problems you had identified. Fill in the missing scenes. And of course throw away the useless side trips that had added nothing.

You now should have a good solid first draft ready for editing. After editing you can do the SPAG and fact checking or other needed clean up to have a finished novel.


You are actually in a great place to be in your process, with plenty of material to work with. It's not about which parts are good, and which aren't, it's about which parts serve the structure and throughline you decide to bring to your narrative. Michelangelo, the great sculptor, is said to have claimed that when he sculpted, he just "cut away the parts that aren't the sculpture." Similarly, you just need to cut away the parts that aren't part of this particular story you're telling right now.

There are innumerable great books on how to write with strong structure. Story Genius, and The Writer's Journey are two of the ones I recommend most often. You can also google terms like "3 Act Structure" and "4 Act Structure." Go through your work, and see if you can string (some of) the scenes together into a coherent plot that matches the structure you like the best. Don't worry about the scenes that don't make it in, they will just become part of the unwritten backstory. Then, rewrite it, or add new material until it all flows together.

Best of luck!

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