Sunday I finished the second draft of my novel. It has been a long journey which began over the summer. And I am still far from finished because I have several more drafts left. But the job feels less daunting.
Technically, I consider a novel to progress in stages. I am still in the hacking and slashing stage, but I finished converting it from a screenplay format into novel format late Sunday night. That also means the word count exploded from approximately thirty-five thousand words to sixty-five thousand words. And I still have not reached my favorite part of the novel.
My favorite stage is the character edit stage. That will happen sometime between drafts three and eight. The story edit is the next “stage” … and I’m almost there.
Essentially, the story edit is where I work my way through the novel several times until all the elements of the plot, and subplot(s), make sense. It’s like taking sandpaper to the plot. The hack and slash stage removes large chunks of the story. But the story edit stage removes small pieces, sometimes with a laser scalpel.
It also makes the plot flow like a river of water, gently bending around rocks, over waterfalls, moving quickly yet feeling natural in its turns.
Finishing the novel can be a slow process. I anticipate the finished novel will be over one-hundred thousand words. Sometimes finishing a novel can feel like pushing a boulder, up a mountain… a mountain covered in ice. It’s not always fun or glamorous. And it takes tenacity.
How do you deal?