For what has been a stop-start kind of three months or so, I felt a little flutter in me belly when I finished my, ahem, second draft.
Now, this is not what some people might consider a second draft: a honed, crafted, pacy 70,000 words. It is more a second draft where I have sorted out what my chapters are – in my case chapters 1 to 88 (Yes, 88).
My novel was unstructured when I finished Draft 1 at the beginning of January. So the second draft has been, in large part, about getting it into some sort of shape.
But probably the most time has been spent sowing. Yes, sowing. See I had a plot problem in the last quarter of the book, a plot development that leads to the climax. I had one idea, then changed it to another, and around Feb or so decided I had to go back to the original idea, but tweak it.
I never knew the world of pain you enter when you pull on a thread. Not only had I to change a block of chapters, around five or so, but I also had to go through other chapters, particularly towards the end, and change them, which led to something else having to be changed, and so on. It made my head spin and ache at the same time.
A third piece of work I had to do was essentially rewrite my second and third chapters (introducing my second and third characters respectively).
So, it was with a little sense of pride when, down in my mum’s house away from family and my long-suffering wife, I got to finish a second draft. The word court is 135k or so. Think that’s way too long? Well, it was over 150k at the first draft. I’m bit chuffed I have already been able to axe a number of chapters. I do feel my plot (plots) are too long and a bit complicated, so I have work to do on honing that down.
So, next stage is, I suppose, where the serious rewriting begins. I’m thinking of using a book – The First Five Pages – as my guide. It was one of the books recommended by Laurence O’Bryan on http://lpobryan.com/2013/02/05/the-7-most-useful-books-on-how-to-write-fiction-for-those-who-didnt-get-it-yet/. From a quick glance, it could well cut my word count down substantially.