First and second drafts
August 31st, 2013
My apologies for not having posted for a while – I’ve been busy working away at the second draft of Claw (which is no longer called Claw, but that’s still how I think of it). And the work isn’t finished yet. I’m writing a completely new ending, with bells and whistles, goats and pigeons, and hopefully a hot air balloon. 🙂
I like second drafts a lot better than first drafts. First drafts can be fun, because all sorts of weird and interesting things show up when I’m not expecting them. But they’re also horribly chaotic, even though I do a detailed plot before I start writing. By the time I get to the end of a first draft, I am usually very confused, because I’m throwing in ideas willy nilly, and some of them work and some of them don’t, e.g. I might start off with human twins, but when I get halfway through the book I might realise I didn’t want twins after all, so I throw them out and bring in a bear instead. Or triplets. Or triplets who are also bears.
But second drafts – ah, this is where things start to make sense. I throw out a good lot of what I’ve written, particularly all the ‘going places’ scenes, where nothing really happens. I rewrite the first half of the book so that the bear triplets are there from the very beginning. I work out what’s really happening emotionally for the main characters, and why they’re behaving the way they are, and what they want and what price they’re willing to pay to get it. And the book starts to look like something people might want to read.
So if your first drafts are appalling, and you think that makes you a really bad writer, you’re wrong. First drafts are just a stepping stone, a way station. It’s what comes after the first draft that counts.
I reckon I’ve still got another couple of weeks to go on this draft, which will give me time for one more draft before I hand it in to the publishers. The deadline is pretty tight, because I spent six months of last year working on a book that fell apart, and didn’t start this one till the end of January. According to my contract it’s due on November 1st, and I’m pretty sure I’ll make it.
On another topic, I’m thinking of getting a new set of bookplates for the Hidden series. I’ve still got quite a few of the Keepers bookplates left, but it might be nice to have new ones with a different picture on them. What do you think?