Progress: 142,648 words, Thirteen Chapters (All Second Draft)
It’s true. I have finished the second draft of my novel, and boy am I exhausted!
I knew early on that draft 2 was not going to be the quick once-over I hoped for, and the amount of time spent more than anything proves how deep the revision went. I estimate about 260 days for the second draft, only a month less that it took to write draft 1. It’s almost like I rewrote the whole book and, considering my growth as a writer and understanding of what story I was telling, much of it needed rework.
I took out scenes, added twice as many as I removed, ending up with 25k more words than the previous iteration. Most of those words were necessary to create a better pacing within a scene or chapter, which means when I get to draft 3 (where the big cuts begin) I am likely looking at dropping whole scenes in conjunction with overused words and condensing phrases.
It seems prudent to wait for beta reader feedback before making large cuts and beginning the minute polishing, so draft 3 is many months away. My optimistic estimates for beta reader feedback is six months, with a few stragglers coming in later, and some simply fading into oblivion. I’m hoping for 3 months of work for draft 3, which means in less than a year I’ll be querying for publication (many more blogs to come on that process).
Other than pacing, draft 2 was mostly about tightening up chapter 1 and bringing the chaos of the book’s latter half into focus. A big portion of that was around what became a crucial supporting character.
Gaspard “Moufette” Durand was originally written as a simple, caring man who helps Amity on her journey to find her mother. In the second draft he is more complex and is singularly important in aiding Amity’s transformation, hardening her against the atrocities and heartbreak she continually suffers during her cross-country tour of America.
Charlotte (Amity’s mother) is also given more care and attention, an effort to give this family’s points of view equal treatment and opportunity for understanding. After all, the point of this book is to humanize the stereotypical and metaphorical representation each character plays in the real-life theater of white/indigenous relations. I hope I have managed to accomplish this and eagerly await reader response.
For draft 3 I plan to collect all my notes, critiques, and feedback to make hard choices as to what stays and what goes. I will also be researching the era more to add those important world-building details. Then it’s time for the fine grain sandpaper, working it all down to something smooth and eloquent, a structure that no longer resembles the rough-cut lumber and sloppy connections dripping with wood glue, but a single work of art. You know, a book.
Happy writing, everyone!
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