I’m just coming up to finishing my second draft. Apart from being slightly bemused that I’ve done this so quickly, I’m getting quite excited, and a bit nervous now.
The first draft is always just the skeleton of the story. What I want to tell, the first exploration of the characters, the big moments, the little but significant moments. The second draft is when I put flesh on the skeleton. What doesn’t work is changed. What does work is magnified. The characters take on a life of their own. The plot develops at least six more twists. I finally grasp what the point I’m trying to make is.
The third draft is the clothes and the hair and the make up (I’m really stretching this metaphor out). It’s the final polish. Errors are tracked down and eliminated. All checkable facts are checked. Plot holes are filled. Theoretically, by the time the third draft is done, its finished. (It isn’t. I could keep re-writing forever. But sooner or later I have to actually put the pen down and be done with it.)
Then its time to send it out. A few clipped together pages, a synopsis I’m not entirely surely gets the book across, a covering letter that I hope across as more hopeful than desperate. It’s the worst part of the entire process. The writing, whilst painful and tiring and frustrating, is ultimately joyous. The “will you publish my book?” part is heart-wrenching. What if they don’t like it? Or what if they like it but want to change it? What if they like it, publish it as written, and I fail utterly?
It’s silly really. I write to be read, so why am I so nervous about offering my work to people? Nevertheless, as the end of the third draft comes closer, I am getting more and more nervous about that part.