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.
One chapter down, 30 more to go (in this draft)
For a while, I honestly thought this day would never come: the day I finally got to start revising my WIP.
I never set out to write a trilogy. That’s a whole lot of writing for anyone, but for me, being such a slow writer to boot, it at times felt near-insurmountable.
I’m convinced the only thing that got me to THE END of the first draft was the iron-like strength of my discipline. I may have many shortcomings as a writer, but showed up at the page is not one of them.
My first draft chapters, bottom to top, colour coded by their revision needs
It was like grading the world’s longest midterm paper.
Coming in at 402 pages and with all but the last two chapters having been written some ten years ago, I really had no idea what I was in for when, upon completing my first novel ever (technically my first trilogy, but I count it as one completed story), the time came to read through the entire first draft.
The age of the thing alone terrified me, for how well could a ten-year-old story possibly hold up? I already knew going in that I’d have a fair amount of rewriting ahead of me, but the question was how much?