Second Draft

February 14, 2006

I haven't posted recently regarding how the book is going, because I've been busy actually keeping it going.

After taking time off over the holidays to regroup and read up on editing and revision, I started in on the second draft in early January. I'm finding the process frustrating and rewarding, all at once.

Frustrating because I no longer have the easy metric of a word count to denote progress. The measure now is quality as opposed to quantity, and since it is so subjective, it's harder to pinpoint how I'm doing.

Rewarding because up until recently, I have been working in a complete vacuum - no one had read the book or even been given many details about the plot. Feedback is a scary thing until one actually receives it. To my great surprise and considerable gratification, the negative feedback regards areas I already knew to be problematic - like obvious dialogue and sparse description - whereas the positive comments are around areas I was worried about - whether or not the story and characters are interesting and the world believable. It's amazing what even a small amount of positive feedback can do for one's motivation.

The feedback process has been illuminating, to say the least. Several people had problems with a particular scene - a clear sign that it wasn't working. When I retooled the motivations of the characters in that scene, I also realized that the same readers who had problems with it would also call me on the motivations in a future scene they hadn't read yet. This scene had always bothered me and now I had to face the music and fix it. The worrisome bit: if it wasn't fixable, then large portions of the rest of the plot would fall by the wayside. Yet in thinking about how to solve some other point of view problems that had been pointed out to me, I had an epiphany one morning: changing the motivation from one character's point of view to another resolved all my problems while letting the plot move along much as before, but more sanely. It was a 'Eureka' moment - I was giddy for the rest of the day, to my husband's considerable amusement.

I suppose all writers go through this. Misery and self-doubt, followed by euphoria. I guess the only way to stay sane is to rejoice in small victories. :-)

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