3rd Draft of a Novel

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So, I think I might have discussed my fiction writing process before, but to recap:

1st Draft = get the story out of my skull. The word dump. Sometimes it just pours into the keyboard and sometimes every word is a struggle.

2nd Draft = fix what’s broken. This starts with a read through, making notes as I go on what I think doesn’t work or needs to be improved.

3rd Draft = make it pretty. This draft is where the most words change. Sentences, paragraphs, and chapters might move around, or not, but while the story usually stays more or less intact, this draft involves a lot of change to the text.

Final Draft = read it out loud. This is to make sure I didn’t miss anything and that the story flows well.

I’ve just finished the third draft of Ancient Runes, but the book has gone through a lot of fits and starts.

I actually started the original first draft on 01 January 2009.  Yes, almost five years ago. By the middle of February, I’d hit 31,000 words and had no idea what I was doing with the story, so I put it down and moved heavily back into short fiction for a while and eventually on to other projects.

In late 2011, I pulled it out, blew off the dust, and read through what there was. Amazingly, I found a few things I really liked and a lot of potential in what was left. More importantly, I saw where the story had gone off the rails and how I thought it could move forward, including the ending, more or less. I began some heavy rewrites of the existing story in mid-December, and slowly pushed the story towards a 67,000 word completion on 21 April 2012.

Then I put it away again to let it rest for a while because I, honestly, still wasn’t sure it completely worked. I took January this year for the detailed read through. Many notes and changes came out of that, but the second draft took a little more than a month, adding a few scenes, a bit of description, and almost 9,000 words.

The third draft suffered from life, and while the time was spread out a lot more, the third draft, making it pretty, occupied only 35 days, an hour or two each day most of the time, and added another 8,000 words, almost. I finished that draft on 04 October.

And it felt good. Still does.

To give myself a bit of a break, I’m taking a couple of weeks to read through the Graceland stories again, making sure I want to release them into the wild. Then I’ll start on the final draft of Ancient Runes. I’d like to finish it by the end of the year, but I’ve got some decent momentum going at the moment. We’ll see how it goes.

Be well, everyone.

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