On track

Most of my writing energy these days is being used working on my novel. Last week I set myself the target of getting through 20 pages a week. That’s a helluva lot, but a lot simpler because this is the second draft. In theory it’s all been written. It’s there on the page, all it needs is for me to tidy up and re-touch here and there. That’s the theory.

In fact I’m doing a lot of re-writing, and actually have written extra chapters for this draft, and added in a complete new character. It’s more than just a tidy up. I’ve been working on this draft about 14 weeks I reckon, maybe more, and as of today I’m up to page 108.

Having said I managed my 20 pages last week, and I think I’ll hit it again this week (reckon it’ll top out at about 220 MS word pages – about 100,000 words).

It’s going easier now because the second half of the story needs less work than the first half. That’s for two reasons. The simple reason is that I had well and truly hit my stride by the time I got halfway through the first draft. The writing was better, more complete, and with less gaps.

The other reason is that by the time I got to the end of the first draft I realised all the things I needed to insert into the start of the book for it to make sense. Basically it’s a mystery, and a mystery needs clues. I had a better grip of the mystery when I finished than when I started, and saw all the bits and pieces I needed to add in.

It’s been quite a lot. I did a comparison the other day. I was on page 100 of the second draft. I checked back to the first draft and at the same stage I was only up to page 67. That’s 33 extra pages – let’s say 30% to make it easier.

There’s an extra chapter in that 30%, but there’s also a big chunk I cut out. The rest is more detail, more clues and evidence, more dialogue. Generally I’d be worried by such a big increase. I like it pretty lean, and would suspect I’m over-writing if so much extra has been added.

I don’t think that’s the case. There’s more strands to it now. It’s a genuine, head-scratching puzzle. And the writing is good. I’m surprised at how good it seems.

There’s a fair bit to go, but I should finish this draft by Christmas. There will be another after that, but that should only really be a cut and polish.

It’s easier than I thought. By that I mean it’s bloody hard, but it’s do-able. I’ll get it done, then let’s see what we’ve got.

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