Holy smokes. Time flies. Fall is certainly upon us. The athletes have returned to school, leaves are browning, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks (super basic of me, I know, but can’t deny the PSL). Summer ended up productive on all fronts – writing, rowing, work. I’m on the cusp of tackling the second part of Highness, so wanted to share my feelings on the revision process thus far.
Everyone says your first draft is simply a matter of getting the words down. Everyone says your first draft is about figuring out character, plot, theme. Everyone says your first draft will suck.
They were right. And that’s an incredibly satisfying admission.
I don’t think I hit my stride with the first draft until the last 20k words. The final 20k of 109k (and let’s not discuss Draft Zero, which was 60k of slapping random scenes down back in December 2016. That has now been entirely cut). Frankly, “hitting my stride” still may be a generous self-assessment.
I’m about a third of the way through the second draft, and it has been less editing and more gutting of the entire manuscript. “Killing your darlings” has never been an issue for me – I liberally brandish the axe of revision. Multiple subplots were cut. POVs have disappeared. Character attributes got ratcheted up. Massive structural changes were implemented. This book is an entirely different animal than what I spent all of 2017 writing. The core elements of the story have remained, but my second draft isn’t revision. It’s a full-blown rewrite. The story is stronger for it.
I’m totally one of those people that enjoys writing the second draft more than the first. I like revision.
If you can’t tell, I’m a metrics nerd, so bear with me. Over the last twenty months, upward of 300k written words have resulted in 38k that’s in decent enough shape to go out to my critique partners, and that bit is still far from perfect. But the story is moving nearer to actualizing the vision. It’s closer than it was six months ago, and I can’t wait to see where it will be six months from now. Plugging away, plugging away.