I’ve read a lot of writing craft books in my life, but until recently, none of these were about revision.
The reason being because, until recently, I never had a completed, novel-length work in need of revising.
Never being the sort put the proverbial cart before the horse, I always wanted my education in writing to occur in an orderly sequence, comprising only those aspects of which I’d have immediate use. This way of thinking served me well for the past 16 years, less the six of those I temporarily gave up writing altogether.
In March, I completed the second draft of my historical fiction WIP.
I’ve done shit all writing-wise since.
Not that those who read my blog don’t get a sample of my writing every week.
And not just a small sample either. I’m hardly one to skimp on either my words or the ideas conveyed with them.
No one has ever accused my writing style of being “spare”. In university, I played the usual word-processor tricks with font size and margins, but in my case it was because my reports were always too long, not too short.
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.
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.
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.
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.