Thirteen months after I finished the first draft of my work-in-progress (WIP), I am now close to finishing the second draft. The novel is more complete, but it’s still a long way from being published. If first drafts are like ghostly, disembodied voices, second drafts are shape shifters! As soon as I address one problem, I find 10 more hidden in sections that had earlier seemed perfectly good and decent prose.
I was trying to explain to my husband why I was walking in circles and talking to myself, and he told me I was just too close to my work. Too close? Well, sure. It came out of my head. You really can’t get closer.
Maybe I need another reader. Is it time? The thought of showing this to anyone right now is terrifying. You writers out there: at what point did you bring in beta readers or critique partners?
Before I do that, I’m going to do some editing. Yep, gonna’ let that inner editor out before she busts a blood vessel. Oh joy! This will be a summer of penance. I will be reading chapters aloud, which is really the best thing I can do to force myself to deal with each and every awkward line, cliche, repetitive description, tense shift, and other forms of bad writing. And after the flagellation of novel and self, I will rewrite. Then rewrite again.