There is something daunting about finishing the first draft. For me, it’s the possibly the easiest part of the work, maybe because I’m following my outline (or not) and basically letting the story go where it will. That’s the best way I have found to get the through it. I’m not saying it’s by any means finished, in fact, it’s pretty messy, but that’s how I like it. I don’t go back over what I’ve written until I get to the end — usually, around 80K words, so book two feels a bit on the light side at 71K… and there is a whole part of it that I may carve off for another book.
So begins the real work, the crafting of the story, the unpicking of the random subplots I’ve added on various whims, and of course the rewriting and developing of the characters. For some reason, I tend to concentrate on the exposition in version one, like a scaffold, just get the basic plotting and pace locked down allows me to define the shape of the story. The main characters are in there, but they are two-dimensional, like mannequins, their reactions and responses to the situations I have created are not fully thought through or in some cases present at all.
The second draft is the hardest, you have to make some difficult decisions about what to keep and what to cut. Who lives and who dies (no spoilers). It’s like having a conversation with a previous version of yourself, one that wasn’t always focussed on where things were going and basically took a few short cuts or bent the rules. There are, however, some interesting new themes developing in this book (some of which didn’t exist when I was planning it – but that’s the fun of the first draft), which I will go into in more detail in future posts.
Did I mention it’s going to be called MAELSTROM?