Last night I finished my first complete read-through of the first draft of book #3 (working title, Guardians, although I’m considering Wild Spread as an alternative). (No, that’s not me over there on the right. My ideal reader, maybe. At least her interest level looks right.) I’ve got almost 10 pages of hand-written notes of things to check, fix, delete, etc.
Overall verdict: not bad.
There are some scenes that are way out of position. There’s a place where one of my secondary characters chrysalizes, then a few chapters later appears again in her unchanged, original form, as if the chrysalization never happened. Oops. Well, that’s the sort of thing that happens in a first draft. The fix should be easy: delete the sentence that reports the chrysalization. I can still end that scene in a way that will make readers want to find out whether what Amanda fears will happen to her or not. (Hint: it–NO, I’m not telling!)
My barber asked me yesterday if I ever forget what I’d written earlier in the draft. Heck, yeah! Happens all the time. Having an outline helps but there are always details about something I wrote months ago that get forgotten or contradicted later. Maybe other writers can keep all of that straight but in a 110,000+ word draft, written over the course of six or seven months, for me, fuhgeddaboudit.
This is just one reason why first drafts should never ever be final drafts!
I still need to go though the draft and sort out the timeline. That’s especially important this time because the final scene has to take place in May or June. And since the book opens at a specific time of year, right after the end of Chrysalis, everything else needs to happen at the right time or the last scene could end up in some other month, when the weather pattern that’s critical to the end of the story doesn’t happen, or doesn’t happen so much, in Dallas. (That’s a teaser.)
I’m actually looking forward to getting started on Draft 2. I know lots of writers who dislike, hate, despise, you pick the negative verb, revising. Not me. I enjoy it. While it’s a different kind of process, and takes a different kind of creativity than writing that first draft is/does, seeing the work get better is a reward in itself. I get a real feeling of satisfaction at the end of a day of editing when I know the story is better than it was before I started.
Draft 2 is what my writers’ group will get. (Get ready, guys and gals. When it starts to come your way, it’s going to come in big chunks!) Their feedback will help me create Draft 3, which is what I plan to send to my still-to-be-selected editor and beta readers. Draft 4, created from their feedback, should be what goes to CreateSpace and Smashwords to be published.
When will that be? I don’t know. I’d hoped to get this book done and out by the end of this year, but I don’t see that happening now. If nothing else, since I don’t know who’s going to edit the book, I don’t know what his or her timeline will be: when they’ll be able to take it, how long they’ll need, etc. All in good time. Things are moving forward, and that’s what matters.
Time to get busy.