Apparently I missed posting last week. I guess that’s what happenswhen you move house and start your second draft at the same time! The move is still underway, but I think most of the hard bits are done, so it shouldn’t detract too much from the writing in the next few weeks.
It’s been an exciting few days being back with the novel. Before getting started I sometimes had to work hard not to touch it and wait the full six weeks as planned, and yet, when Day One rolled around I was nervous and wanted to avoid it. In reading the whole thing back to myself I saw a big, muddy mess, but underneath, the bones of a good, strong story. My job over the next few weeks is to excavate those bones, gathering my ideas into the right places, planning rewrites and new chapters and putting everything into a big summary of where it ought to be in the final product. After that is writing the chapters again, all from start to finish. Before I’d written anything I used to read this advice from other authors, that you write the first draft, then throw it away and write the second from scratch. I used to think this was slow and inefficient, but now I see that everything I have done until now in my first draft informs what I’m doing in my second draft. Nothing is wasted.
After that, I should have a piece of prose that more or less tells my story the way I want it to be. Then I can print it out and demolish it with a red pen – a particularly satisfying act that I have been preventing myself from doing since I wrote the first sentence of my first chapter.
THEN AFTER THAT I will finally have something I’m going to show to my friends for their advice, then to an editor, or perhaps an editor and then the friends. I think I might have a finished novel after that.