If it’s completely different from the ‘first’ draft can you still call it the ‘second’ draft? I’ve come to realize when this novel is finished I won’t have a clear answer to the question ‘How many drafts did it take?’ The lines between drafts are already becoming fuzzy.
I’m nowhere near finished the second draft of my novel—of course it’s taking longer than planned—but I can already tell it will be very different from the first. On the bright side, it’s much more coherent thus far. There’s a good chance I’ll let other people see this one so I can get some feedback. Then between the feedback and my own fickle mind it will be interesting to see what draft three looks like.
I’m not entirely surprised by the amount of changes considering how dishevelled the first draft was. It would seem I can’t count on ideas coming to me in any kind of proper order. There have been a few short stories that I’ve written start to finish in an afternoon that remained more or less intact after revisions. Usually though, it seems I have to dump all the piece out of my brain then step back and examine them to find the story’s chronology. This is probably why serial publishing turned out to be a mistake for me. Well, mistake isn’t the right word. It was a learning experience.
Not that I didn’t reread and revise every chapter before publishing, but by the time I got to chapter ten of Dosterra, I already wanted to make serious changes to chapters one through nine. I haven’t discounted the idea of eventually finishing this story, but I think I will have to actually finish it, and rewrite it, then maybe it will be ready to send out to the world. (The novel I’m working on now is an entirely different one.)
This has been the latest musing of a short story writer/wannabe novelist. And yeah, I’m procrastinating. Back to the novel now I swear.
I actually have a complete first draft of a novel! I wasn’t sure it would ever happen. Hang on while I savour it for a moment…
…Ok. About the draft:
1) Title TBD. The story has the same main character and universe that I created in one of my short stories, but I may or may not keep the original title. I’m currently thinking not, the story has changed a lot, but I am yet to think of a good alternative so we’ll see. 2) It’s a mess. It is a first draft as Joanne Fedler describes here: The first draft and the rewrite—Vomit in a bucket. An apt, if gross, metaphor. But, all the pieces to the puzzle are there. What remains is for me to go back and decide which pieces to keep, which to throw away, and what needs reshaping for a better fit. Continue reading
Aside from Dosterra, I am also working on a novel that I actually plan to complete, edit and refine before subjecting anyone else to it.
I started it over the summer, got about halfway through, didn’t like where it was going and started again. I did make some progress. This time, I made it a little farther than halfway before getting stuck. As I discussed the other day being unsure what to write next tempted me to get into the editing process. Bad idea.
I resisted the urge for a little while and actually think I know now where I want things to go next. Unfortunately, in the meantime I read How Not to Write a Novel and now I know how many mistakes I’ve been making.
Tug-of-war over, I’ve tipped over the edge. I’m going through it from the beginning…again. Though I’m hardly starting from scratch, it feels like I am. Still, I just can’t leave what I’ve written as is. I’m trapped in the edit loop, and it may take a miracle for me to get out and finish this thing—the danger of working without a deadline I guess.
Buddhists say it is impossible to love and hate something at the same time. I beg to differ. Maybe tomorrow I’ll work on a short story instead.