As I wait for the final beta-readers to get back to me before I send the manuscript off to Bothersome Words, I have begun work on book two.
And wow, am I rusty!
I completed the first draft of The Blood of the Spear back in 2010.
If you are wondering what in the world have I been doing between then and now, well, you aren’t the only one.
A standard piece of advice that new writers receive, is to put their finished work away for a length of time (that length varies depending on who is offering the advice). Well, I did this. I did this a number of times.
Of course, not having done any writing courses, or even read any ‘how to’ books, I only had a vague idea of what happens next. I knew that some writers had a number of drafts, so I embarked on ‘rewriting’ – this ended up just being a number of re-reads and pushing words around.
I did send it out to beta-readers, and I received feedback – luckily none of it was horrible, although it would have been justified back then I am sure. Still, I didn’t really know what I needed to do next, so the manuscript was put away again as I continued to think and reading and day dream about being an author.
Then, approximately fifteen months ago, I had an idea that changed a quite a bit of the back story, and required a significant amount of re-writing so I set to it. As it turns out I had learnt something over the years of rewriting because I changed a great many things in the manuscript as I went.
You see, over this period of time I had become friends with a number of other writers and editors, and through conversations with them and the reviewing of other writers works, I have now developed a better understanding of the steps I need to go through with a manuscript once I type ‘the end’.
But while I have been writing over the last five-odd years (years that I was actually working on the manuscript) it has mostly been about ‘editing’ and tweaking, not first draft writing. When I was doing the first draft, I was writing approximately two thousand words a day, seven days a week. I had managed to turn off the inner critic – who wanted every word to be perfect – and just got the words onto the page. It’s been eight years since I wrote like that, and now heading back into a first draft I am finding it a struggle.
I understand the work I have been doing is, in fact, writing, and it has been beneficial. I have learnt a lot and – in my humble opinion – my writing has improved. It’s just been a different type of writing, and first draft writing – at least for me – uses a different part of the brain.
But I’ll get there!
P.S. Of course there is that other piece of advice that first time writers are given also, and that is to trunk (put away and don’t take back out) their first novel. The idea being that this is the novel you are learning on and the things you will need to fix are just too numerous. Yeah, while I ma not actually get this book published first in the gran scheme of things, it will see the light of day.