Thoughts on Completing My Novel’s Second Draft

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.

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My Cheating Writing Heart

good-and-evil-hearts

Usually, it’s writing that I cheat on other activities with.

Many years ago, in a fluke of proprioception I’m largely unable to reproduce with my moods and in other activities, I mastered the skill of daydreaming with a neutral expression on my face.

This revolutionized the way I move through the world, for it enabled me to almost always be working on my writing, even when I’m not literally writing.

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The Problem with Historical Fiction (and the Power of Historical Fiction)

The historical fiction shelf you won't find in most bookstores and libraries

The historical fiction shelf you won’t find in most bookstores and libraries

The problem with historical fiction is that it’s not actually genre.

Not the way romance or mystery or thriller are genres.

There are no defining characteristics – no genre conventions – of historical fiction other than the story taking place in a non-contemporary time period in which the manners, social conditions, and other details of the era are clearly depicted.

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Once Upon a Time, Once More

butterfly-net

And just like that, I’m nearly two-thirds of the way through the rewrite of my WIP.

I should rephrase that: I’m two-thirds through the second draft of my WIP, with an as-yet-undetermined number more to go after that.

And it’s not exactly “just like that” either, for I’ve been hard at work on this draft since January.  This has involved, in addition to multiple rewrites of chapters one through three, a first crack at the additional 15 chapters I’ve completed to date some of which were in much better shape than others.

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Thoughts on Re-Rewriting My Novel’s First Chapter

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

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.

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Revising is Hard, But Not in the Way I Expected

Keep calm and revise onI’ve now been actively revising my WIP for about three-and-a-half months.

I have to admit, I haven’t progressed nearly as far as I’d anticipated, to date having reworked only seven chapters out of a total 31.  And that’s not counting the fact I have to go over chapters 1-3 all over again.

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Thoughts on Revising My Novel’s First Chapter

One chapter down, 30 more to go (in this draft)

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.

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