The second draft of Little Blade, the follow-up to Jago, is almost complete. Second drafts are easier, but finicky in the extreme. For example, sometimes you’re faced with an instinct to cut something, but the cut only makes sense after the fact. You can’t be sure it’s right ’til it’s done, but you can’t be too tentative or you’ll never get round to doing it.
Then there’s a lot of jiggery-pokery with characters and sub-plots. And each character and sub-plot, revised or otherwise, has to blend seamlessly into the main narrative. There has to be an inner balance too – the world you create has to live within its own logic.
And the story must flow.
So there are a whole lot of “what ifs” and structural decisions and plot-alternatives and character development, relationship-building, plot-hole filling and other stuff that just needs doing and doing, until it doesn’t need doing.
Then I’ll rest it, and then, after a gap of two or three months, I’ll go back and begin work on the third draft.
I love this part of writing. Grappling with the options, wrestling with choices, looking for flaws in the logic, gaps in the story, toiling over the fekkin grammar*, and all of the time, watching this thing emerge that on some level has nothing to do with me. I only wrote the thing.
It’s the characters who force their way out and make the story real.
* “I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out.” Attributed to Oscar Wilde: