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?
Although Sag loves the thrill of a new project or friendship, you don’t always finish what you start. Work on keeping your promises and commitments.
(Source: http://astrostyle.com/sagittarius, among many others.)
I’m not a follower of astrology or other form of pop culture personality typing, but sometimes, it seems, these systems follow me.
I was born under the astrological sign of Sagittarius. People of this sign are said to highly gregarious, to have an incurable wanderlust, and also to be notoriously distractible – to the point that they rarely complete what they start.
Even though I’ve never felt I embodied any of these hallmark Sagittarian traits, the presence of the last one in the above list has always caused me some distress.
No, I’m still not finished my WIP.
But honest to goodness, this last novel in my historical fiction trilogy is truly almost done. I know I’ve written about being close before, but now I’m really close. Like, a two-digit number of pages remaining that starts with 2 (or maybe even one!) close.
When last I wrote about my WIP’s impending end, I discussed various insights that had occurred to me as I continued along this process.
Well, a new level of nearness to the end has engendered an all new set of realizations:
I should qualify this by saying I mean the end of my novel.
(Were I talking the end of my life, my thoughts would be considerably different, and if nothing else, I’d perhaps be referring back to this post about my bucket list.)
Ending a novel is hard. The fact that I’ve done it twice thus far in my writing career hasn’t made it any easier. Perhaps this is because only once did I consciously do so since my “two-book” series-in-progress grew to three books initially without my realizing it.