Show and Tell: WIP Update

… and somewhere a tree cries for its fallen cousin.

There she is! All that freshly printed paper sends my heart into a flutter, but I find it’s just a lot easier to catch mistakes when I look at the physical pages instead of a screen. It’s time to break out the red pen.

I love editing, but I have to admit that things haven’t gone exactly to plan. Here’s the honest truth:

~Queue interior monologue~

  • Draft 1: OK we have a plot! Yes! I can write on a regular schedule and finish. I was really worried for while there that this idea wouldn’t be novel sized. Whoo hoo! (8 months)
  • Draft 2: Man there were a lot of holes in that plot. Some of it sucked soggy cookies. This is really hard. I’m going to need to rewrite a lot, actually  90% of it. Oh… and I just realized this is steampunk! Really? Hmm! OK I’ll run with it. I’m just relieved there’s a plot at all… wait, I spoke too soon. The middle’s a bit thin.  (1 month 1 week)
  • Draft 3: Is 3rd person POV really working? Let me try it in 1st person. Oh, no, that didn’t work. Damn. You know what though? My characters finally filled out. It’s about time you naughty characters shaped up! Why didn’t you start cooperating with me sooner? I’ve rewritten chapter one 7 times now. It’s still not quite there. On the other hand, the story now has a middle. Yay! (26 days)
  • Draft 4: I’m really starting to get tired. Why did I change this to first person? ~changing it all back to 3rd~ There are still holes in this plot. ~cries~ I hope no one notices that this is the worst novel ever. ~starts talking to self~ No it’s not! The plot’s solid. There’s some real emotion in there too. The prose however, still sucks soggy cookies. Yeah you’re right. One more round? ~sighs~ And chapter one still isn’t working. At least I know the ending now. That should make it easier? I hope. (18 days)

I just look back and laugh. So now I begin draft 5. I still have to rework that tricky first chapter, and I’ve got a long list of issues to fix, but it’s getting there. I’m feeling optimistic.

I drew up a sign to keep me on track as I go into the next draft:

Write Honestly
Trust Your Gut
Be Bold

Make it Bleed

But, enough blogging. It’s time for me to get back to work. Have you been writing lately? How’s it going for you?

23 Comments to “Show and Tell: WIP Update”

  1. Good luck with your editing. I really appreciate seeing your dates and timing. I realize all writers are different but it brings some perspective 😉

    I find “editing” much more difficult than the first draft (although I’ve already written more in March than I did in February and I can’t blame editing since I try to maintain writing new material and editing at the same time).

    1. Yup we’re all different. I envy those who can edit as they go, and come up with clean pages at the end of a day. The first draft’s the hardest part for me. The blank page is frightening 😉

      Good luck with the writing!

  2. Oh wow, six drafts!!! That’s an awfully nice-sized clump of paper there…

    Don’t be too critical of yourself…from what I’ve read, someone is going to be reading it for you this weekend, so you can save the criticism for then. 🙂

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      Have you resorted to threats yet? I’ve been trying to herd mine with a pair of scissors and white out, but so far it’s managed to elude me. It’s one slippery little bugger…

  3. Hi, Theresa! Lovely blog you have here. 🙂 I can totally feel your frustration and worry as you describe your writing and editing process. They are certainly sentiments I share.

    Right now, my editing process is going pretty slow, heh, but I work on the story during the week whenever I can. Sometimes, it’s easy to get sidetracked when you look up a certain point for research (I love learning new things). “Do pumas actually have set mating seasons?” Something unique sparks your interest, and next thing you know you’ve gotten way more acquainted with Puma mating rituals than you ever intended to–all because some offhand remark one of your characters chose to make!

    I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I’m curious as to how long your first draft was when you completed it? Also, has length been an issue for you, or do you find yourself needing to beef up the story a bit? I know I’ve tended to be on the lengthy side.

    1. Hi Tiyana! I know what you mean about research. I can lose hours surfing wikipedia. One link moves on to the other… The things we writers learn. The mating rituals of puma’s eh? hehe.

      The first draft was about 110k. Draft 2 I cut down to 92k. Draft 3 & 4 have hovered around 101k and I expect the next not to change too much from this point. Getting my head around the length was hard. Draft 2 was essentially a complete rewrite of the novel. I didn’t salvage much from the first time, and I underwrote, so I had fill it out in the subsequent draft.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      1. Sure does! Seems it’s a fluctuating game with the numbers, huh? I try not to worry too much about it, but when you’ve reached almost 200K words, you start to wonder… So long as every word counts, it’s got a fighting chance.

        Ah, well, I can probably look forward to at least one more round of editing after this one. o_O Mm, yay. Back to work, then, right?

  4. Eeep! I love the picture of your printed draft, all clean and fresh (before the massacre, er, I mean, editing begins!) Good luck getting it into shape and into something that you’re pleased with!

      1. As the original draft of “Project SOA #1” was at the 3/4 mark… I needed two separate 1.5-inch binders for it. I was at about 140K words. Which was about on-target, as I was aiming for about 200K.

        In a rewrite, I would probably have a similar aim. Book of M, however, will be a bit more modest, though it’s hard right now for me to properly gauge it; it could be anywhere from 90K to 160K, I think, which is a wide range. I’ll have a better idea as I plan it out.

        Which is to say: hey, if it doesn’t fit in a binder, it doesn’t fit. As long as it’s as long as it needs to be to tell the story you’re trying to tell.

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