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Friday, June 20, 2014

Draft 5 - It's Alive!

Where have all the months gone? It feels like they have just slipped away. All too soon I will have to resume my day job, my lovely sabbatical of hours to do with as I wish being almost over. And yet, it has been productive. In March I put things on hold and went on a trip up to Ningaloo. Fresh air, hot days, and time away from writing was exactly what I needed. After the break I managed to resume my writing duties. However, this time has seemed to be the s-l-o-w-e-s-t of all. Drafts 2 to 5 have come and gone, but instead of being enjoyable 'aha!' breakthroughs, a sense of success, it has been a slow and painstaking process. I suppose there was one little moment, a 'that's it, that's what I'm talking about' moment, when the former Chapter 19 (horrid creature that it was) finally bent into shape and became a readable being. I called it draft 2, but really, that was when I knew I had something that I (and hopefully others) would want to read. So why isn't it done yet? What have I been doing with my time? My friends have stirred me up with comments like 'all that free time you've got' and I've managed not to thump them. That's the problem when you're like a hermit, it's hard to reengage with people after all that time spent word-wrangling, alone. They have a point. What have I been doing? Draft 2, as I mentioned, was to get Chapter 19 to the end into the right shape. It was like training for sport, doing laps, until I got it right. Draft 3 was to get rid of all my 'reminders', capitals and 'notes to self' about what to add/check/reword and so on. That draft was sent to some more readers (family got the job of reading and approving Draft 2). Onto Draft 4 - description. I don't like it. I don't read it. Whenever I read a book I skip over the description, to find out 'what happened next'. But if I want to improve my writing, a little description here and there can add texture. So I started. I got halfway then passed it on to two more readers. Then I kept going. Now as well as rewriting and adding in little touches of description, a phrase here and there, I'm also researching. Fact checking. I experienced all the things that happened in the book, but I wanted to take it one step further, and doublecheck my material. For all I knew I had been misinformed the first time. Also I realised that once it's out there, I can't get the book back off readers and say 'hang on, let me change page 45'. Once it's done, it's gone. Out there. So I see this as a bonus, as a way to add more depth to a story which, ironically, I'm hoping is an easy, quick read. It's not like I'm going to get such a chance to do this again, I have the time to do it now. It's just that it takes So Much Time to check anything at all, then the rewrite, a few hours and my mind is scrambled and I'm useless for the rest of the day. Darn brain, it should work harder and for longer. Anyway having said all this, I'm kind of glad I'm doing it. I've added a little on character along the way, but I suspect when I get a publisher they'll have changes anyway. I just wanted it to be as close to the best version I could get it, before I shared it with a publisher. Before the rollercoaster ride begins. So that my vision is clear. I plan to submit it soon, very soon, but right now I'm holding myself back, trying to do these last little bits of icing on the cake. And now, back to researching Chapter 15...

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