Saturday, October 5, 2013

From First to Final Draft

I am currently working on another draft of a novel I already wrote. This is the part of the process I get confused. I am not sure what is considered revision and what is rewriting. I use both terms for doing pretty much the same thing, working the words to make the story better.

This is probably my seventh or eighth draft of this book. I practically have it memorized by now. I think this is part of the process, and getting to know a book intimately. I know every curve and corner to this story, which is mostly why I am rewriting it again. I am close enough to see the flaws.

This is a good rewrite, as I am falling more in love with the story as well as its execution. It sometimes takes me a few drafts for the latter. Like anything, you must practice to make it perfect.

Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. I feel like I spend that on each book, although I know I fall far short of that. I do know it takes more than one draft, or even two or five to get to something that is beautiful. Perhaps this is not true of all writers. Some may have an innate or learned skill that allows them to churn out a great story in one, two or even three drafts. I am not one of those writers, although I wish to become one of those someday.

Although in doing that, I would miss out on the intimate phase, where I have the story memorized. I would miss pushing my characters to their limits, and seeing what they are capable of. I would miss the growth of secondary characters and subplots, which often don’t emerge in first drafts for me.

So, for now, I hurrah the umpteenth draft of this novel, because it is making the story better. It may take me longer to publish. I may never be an author who can churn out a book a year or more, but I will churn out books I love. 

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