Update: Apologies for the errors in this post originally; new blogging rule #1: Never rush a post out at the expense of error checking.
For months now my progress bar (on the right) has been moving incrementally ever closer to 100% on the writing project Vengeance Will Come. This indicator has been labeled as “Reviewing 2nd draft”, but this has been a bit of a lie to you, dear reader, and to myself. It is a lie born of inexperience and a touch of desperation, not malice.
You see I have written the story over a span of many years; up to a point… but not the all important end point. I then discovered the Writing Excuses podcast and realised the number of mistakes I had made… so I began reviewing it. Part way through the review I noticed just how horrendous some of the prose was, so I began the review again. All before I had actually completed the story. As my old manager would say it was “a trap for young players.”
When I created the progress bar and entitled it “Reviewing 2nd draft” it was because I needed to believe the end was in sight. In reality it has only been a week or two ago when after surgery on my story I finalised how the plot would finish. Now the end is truly in sight.
My first novel is going to be far from perfect. I am under no illusion that I made mistakes in both the writing method and execution. The first time I played the piano it wasn’t perfect, the first time I drove it wasn’t perfect – writing is going to be no different. It is a craft that takes time, effort and much practice to improve in.
I don’t want to get trapped in an endless loop of rewrites in an effort to perfect my first book (as some new writers apparently can). However I also feel that another complete pass-through could improve it significantly (after I have finished it, of course). So my plan at this stage is to release the less-than-perfect story to some suckers… oops, I mean alpha readers, and then do only one more review cycle. Then I will close this chapter of my life; every pun intended. Other stories await and I cannot spend much longer on this one…
So in the clear vision of hindsight this is what I intend to do in the future:
- Plan out the plot and characters before beginning writing
- Write the entire story
- First review is for finding plot holes. I will try to turn off the internal editor (this will be a challenge)
- Second draft is to tighten up the prose