Hi! J here. I’m floating on cloud nine this week. I finished the first draft of my last WIP. Yup – finito. Done. Ahhhhh! What a feeling. I’m rewarding myself with a whole week off, from that project. Ya gotta let it marinate for a little bit. Monday I’ll start the monumental task of beginning The Second Draft.
The Cordovan Vault was the first novel I completed. It had 14 drafts. Fourteen! Of course I was the newest of rookies and was just floundering my way through the whole process. I’ve learned a TON of stuff about writing and publishing since then and my goal with The Peacock Tale is to have it into the public’s hands with fewer than six drafts. I think it’s doable.
The first draft is the hardest for me (although drafts 12-14 were pretty daunting last time ’cause I wanted to work on something new!) because it honestly feels a little bit like I’m ripping the story out of my brain. I find writing hard to do. Idea generating, outlining, summarizing, editing – those things are easy for me, but letting the story unfold on the page is hard.
The second draft might actually be my favorite step in writing process. It’s like reading (which I love) but there is still a little creativity involved. I’ve got a ton of “bagels” to work out. Bagels are things that I didn’t know or have nailed down when writing the first draft. For example, right now The Peacock Tale has several references to Bagel-lawyerman a character I haven’t actually named yet. And there is a mysterious tool used by the main characters, currently called a bagel.
And then there are the yellow highlights. While I was writing the book, if there was something that I thought I should add in later and didn’t want to forget (like at the end of the book, I decided that one character should be an avid skateboarder) I made a note to go back and write that in. I highlighted the note in yellow. Or there might be something that I wanted to go back and research later, like what time high tide was in a particular area of North Carolina on a particular day in 2010. There are a lot of yellow highlights.
The second draft is also where I’ll do a lot of cutting. I’ll pull out all that boring stuff that I had to write to get a complete story done. I think it’s much easier to cut than create.
Draft 3 will be the first printed “book” version and I’ll make sure the story looks good in book form. I’m sure there will be lots of little word changes and paragraph modifications.
Draft 4 will go to the beta readers and will likely bring one last round of changes to the story.
Draft 5 will go to the Editor (rookie mistake last time, not having someone else edit for me).
Version 6 will be launched upon the public amid fanfare and confetti…ahhh dreams of glory. Launch Date for The Peacock Tale: October 18, 2011. Start counting the days….
So that’s today’s secret – you need a plan to get that book from your computer to readers’ hands. What’s your plan? And what’s your favorite part of the writing process?