Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Finishing a Book

Just finished the first draft of a new novel. The weird thought of what next begins right away. For almost a year you are focused on just finishing. And then you finish and immediately you think about the rewrite. And you give yourself a day to officially put the capstone on the first draft and let it sink in that you just finished something. But the rewrite is  sitting there like a Buddha, waiting for you to begin again. You think well most people take time off after a big project, but of course you cannot do that. You are a writer and writers don't get time off.

So the next day you sit down and start to read back through your draft. The easy fixes hit you first. The glaring problems with form, organization, bad sentences. The read through is mostly enjoyable and you edit along the way. But then you reach the end again and now you have to go back through it and really start cracking sentences. There is still much that needs work and each reading brings up more problems. The second time through is slower than the first and then you go back to the beginning.

Now you are in the heart of the book. What is is really about? Can some of these extra characters go? Is the book dragging? Do I need all this setup? What about the ending? Is it too neat? Too tidy. Maybe some things should go unsolved. You make adjustments, cuts, expand some areas. You reach the end again and then go back to the beginning. This will go on for a long long time.

Books by William Hazelgrove