It was a tweet I could have written myself:
(At least the first part of the tweet; it’s pretty hard to create a duology out of a story that’s already been envisioned as a trilogy!)
Apparently, I’m both a better and worse writer than I always thought.
It’s been pretty much a full year since I started my critique group, and the time I’ve spend working with my CPs has been full of revelations about myself as a writer.
I always believed that I was a good writer.
This is a fairly common trait among writers and not necessarily a bad thing. No one would spend the necessary months or years to write a novel if they didn’t on some level believe themselves good at it, or at least capable of getting better.
Fourth (left) and partial sixth (right) drafts of my WIP
It’s the worst feeling in the world.
But of course that’s not the end at all. Indeed, the realization of how wretched having your work critiqued can be is only just the beginning of a new stage of your writing journey.
Three drafts of my WIP: first (in the box), second (blue), and third (clear)
In truth, the title to this post should actually be as follows:
“Thoughts on Reading Through My Novel’s Third Draft and Completing My Fourth Draft at More or Less the Same Time”.
Because that is how it went down.
I’ve always believed that I’m a good writer. But at the same time, I’ve always believed I still have much to learn.
At the intersection of these two opposing ideas is the place where I wonder whether, at this moment, I’m good enough for traditional publication.
Whether my historical fiction WIP, which I’ve believed in long enough to have now gone through three (soon to be four) drafts, is now good enough to at least pique the interest of a publishing professional, let alone snag and hold that interest for the duration.
And then there were three: first (green), second (blue), and third (clear) drafts of my WIP
It almost happened too fast for me to have any thoughts on the process at all.
Compared to the marathon of completing the second draft of my historical fiction WIP—which amounted to a complete rewrite of a draft written years ago—there was no way, I told myself, that I’d spend another year on draft three.
Or even the better part of a year
And then there were two: first (left) and second (right) drafts of my WIP
I’ve been down this road before.
The first time I did a complete read-through of my novel, I was terrified of what I’d find.
This time, I was excited as hell.
Thirty-one chapters rewritten and accounted for
It took an entire year.
In not even counting the two months where I purposely did no writing at all, it took an entire year to write the second draft of my historical fiction novel-in-progress, which amounted to a complete rewrite of my first draft.
It took longer to write than the first draft itself, which I completed in 10 months back in in 2005.
Not the “re-re” I’m referring to, but like the Bajan beauty in her famous revenge video, I had to get tough on this chapter
Writing is rewriting.
So the popular, and unfortunately, all too true saying goes.
After working on the first draft my historical fiction trilogy for the better part of three years (with a long, six-year hiatus in between), I was ecstatic to finally get started on draft two of book #1 back in January of this year.