Working on draft 3 of Small Town Witch, and it’s going slowly.
I had the first draft finished back in March, at 80k. I was pretty confident at the time. I thought that most of the story was solidly there. I let it rest for about a week, went over it in an attempt at a one-pass revision, and cleaned up everything that I saw. It looked to me like I only needed to cut a few things, add a few others, correct some mistakes and tighten up the language. I finished that revision and typed it up in less than three weeks. The manuscript did not change much, shrinking to 78k.
Then I started giving it to people to read. That led to a lot of comments and people pointing out so many problems and confusions. I got suggestions galore: this plot was left hanging, that one didn’t go anywhere, I needed to foreshadow things more in the beginning, these characters were two-dimensional, scenes didn’t work, they wanted more of a certain character: “It’s good, but it still needs a lot of work.”
In struggling to resolve all of these issues, I have gone through and marked up major changes. I have cut and changed and moved scenes and altered, so my poor manuscript has been gutted. I have taken it down to 68k right now, but there is a file full of deleted scenes that stands at nearly 20k. Now I have a manuscript full of holes and notes about new things to add. Some parts of it don’t even resemble the original anymore.
It’s frustrating because now all I see is this huge amount of work in front of me. I thought I was close to being done, but now I see that I didn’t really have enough direction to know what I was doing the first time that I went through revision. Talking to other people about the story taught me a lot and changed my perspective on the whole focus of the novel. I ended up trimming out a lot of subplots that focused on secondary characters and now I am trying to add more to build up the main plot. I see that some places I tried to take shortcuts to avoid doing the hard work, and now I have to figure out how to do it better.
After all of the plot revision is complete, I will probably end up doing another pass for style: adding more description, putting more variety in body language, etc. Then a final proofreading run to polish up at the end. It’s daunting, but I want to get through this! I want to be done so that I can write something else!