Writing Update

It’s been a while since I gave you all one of these, so I thought (since I’m off to Bangor again today) this might be an opportune moment to catch you all up to date.

For the last few months I’ve been steadily making my way through OUR LADY, working on the second draft. I haven’t been focused on too many fine details at this point–I do my drafts in passes, usually. What I mean by that is that I’ll do each revision with a few goals in mind. The first draft is all about getting the thought down on paper in some form. The second draft, then, is focused on refining that thought and making it consistent. The first draft will have all sorts of bumps and errors. Places where I changed my mind about how a character behaves, or what plot elements are important. In order to avoid losing my forward momentum, I just keep writing through the rough spots. I don’t go back to revise anything unless it’s really problematic.

That’s what the second draft is for.

After the first draft is done, I set it aside for a month or two at least. Then I print it out and read the thing through from start to finish, marking up the draft as I look for big issues. Sure, I’ll tweak word choice here and there, but all I’m really concerned with is seeing if the original thought is working, and making sure what’s on paper represents that original thought as closely as possible.

Once I’m done with the second draft, I send it off to my agents. In the past, I’ve tried to work on it even more, but I’ve found that’s often a bad idea. There might be some big issues they find with the novel, and any extra time I’ve spent on the book could well be time wasted. While my agents are reading it, I also send it off to some beta readers–people beyond my writing group who I turn to for second opinions.

Based on the feedback I get from my beta readers and agents, I either making huge structural changes (if necessary) or move onto the next phase: refining the descriptions and language. Trimming the book down, tightening it up, making sure everything’s more consistent. The kind of stuff most people usually associate with revising.

So anyway–for now I”m on the second draft. I personally am feeling quite good about this book. That doesn’t always mean the book is good, unfortunately. I thought GET CUPID was awesome, and in the end it was just too much awesome for one book, perhaps. Too busy. I’m hoping I’ve done a better job this time with keeping focused on a few things instead of using the shotgun approach.

Anyway. I hope to be done with this revision by the end of the month or beginning of next at the latest. At that point, I’ll turn my attention back to a first draft of a novel I’d set aside a long while ago–reread it, get a feel for where I was, and then resume writing.

Meanwhile, I continue to have two books out on submission–meaning they’re on the desks of editors for consideration for publication. I don’t say much about that process while it’s ongoing, but just because I don’t talk about it publicly much doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Really, I just feel good to have settled into a rhythm for a bit. Sometimes I feel like I still have so much to learn about writing. Other times, I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it. You’d figure that after doing it every day for thirteen years, I’d be getting used to it.

That’s all I’ve got for you for now. Happy Monday, all. Catch ya tomorrow.

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