This last week has been fantastic. I was lucky enough to have seven straight days to devote to the second draft of my new novel, Through the Eyes of Douglas, of which I was already about 150 pages in. Another 230 pages later and I had a 380-page manuscript, second drafted. That’s 127 thousand words in total, and a good sized book for me, considering Dark Heart only came in at a dainty 80k.
So what’s next?
Well, nothing. I’m not going to look at it for a few weeks.
At the moment I know what little changes need to be made to make the book perfect – miniscule continuity bits – a tightening of the characterisation nut – nothing major. But there lies the problem. There should be more to fix than that.
I’m so immersed in the story at the moment that I can’t see the wood for the trees. I need to get away from the wood. I need to go and wander around a desert for a while, or build an igloo at the North Pole. After six weeks of building sandcastles and throwing snowballs, I’ll be able to come back to the wood and it will be fresh and new. I’ll have forgotten the old paths I used to follow at a glance, and those stinging nettles I used to step over without even looking will start catching my ankles. Rashes are good!
When I come back to my story, it must feel as little like my story as possible, and the only thing between me and that objective state of mind, is distance. Without that distance, my brain will fill in gaps that I don’t want to be filled in. A reader doesn’t have the benefit of my visual imagery. A reader has to form opinions and mental pictures purely from the words. I need to become that reader, and a few weeks of no looky-looky should do the trick.
What to do till then?
I’ve just sent out the second draft to the second wave of beta readers. The first wave (god bless them) took their editorial scalpels to it and will be getting a hearty ‘thank you’ in the acknowledgements – each and every one. In fact, one of the first wave is in the second wave, and was also in wave 1.5 – (extra special ‘thank you’ needed there!). I’ve also got a bloody proofreader on the case! (Link coming soon!).
While all this is going on I’m going to tinker with the synopsis (sneaky little bastard that you are, I fucking hate you!), and catch up on some beta reading of my own. And then maybe, just maybe, I’ll start my third novel. Sorry, darling…
A few weeks? Of course I’ll make it… I’ve just got to stop thinking about it… But that fucking ticking though… Can you hear it or is it just me? La-la-la-la-not-listening!