Tired but happy travellers are returning to Footscray after a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse… a tone of confidence that the end is near penetrated the whole program – One-Minute Parking, Dave Davies
I’ve realised (with some surprise) that I’ve basically got two or three scenes (and a couple of supporting sections) and I’ve finished my first draft.
This is disconcerting for a number of reasons. The first is that I will actually have finished it, after… too many years. I’ve more or less had the structure (and key scenes) in my head for half a decade or more, but to actually put down the final words will be an emotional moment that I can actually see happening within the next month or so.
Another reason it’s disconcerting is that almost immediately I’m going to have to start on the second draft.
One of the advantages of looking at someone else’s work (as I mentioned in my last post) is that you can be crystal clear on the dynamic and structural issues with someone else’s work. Your own, on the other hand, is like a comfortable couch, where you don’t notice the groove that your body has worn into it, or (for that matter) the frayed fabric and coffee stains. Which is fine, if you’re the only one who’s going to sit in it.
Having said that, I’ve already got a working schedule of sorts for my second draft. This is apart from the usual stuff, grammatical issues, typos, adding sensory descriptives and ensuring consistency in names, titles, language and the like. That stuff is basically polish, and given that I’ve been iteratively doing this during the drafting period, so if I’m lucky there’ll be a limited amount of this to do.
After that comes some of the bigger structural things. This includes getting the names right, need to make sure my foreshadowing is both economical and effective, to make sure I’ve effectively described my characters and ensure that my environment is appropriately immersive. There are also a couple of significant-but-not-extensive improvements I intend to make that should heighten tension and tighten the motivations and actions of my characters.
After that, I’m going to farm it out to some friends for consideration and try not to think about it for a little while. Move onto other projects, work on the garden.
After that… well… one of the things I’m considering is a genre change. This may sound like a strange thing to suggest for a third draft, but it’s been on my mind for a while. My novel started out as a piece of fanfiction (an ambitious piece, true), but it’s kinda moved beyond that, especially since there’s now authorised, paid for and deliberately exclusive fanfiction for the world I wrote it in.
So I’ve been considering a reasonably radical shift in setting and tone that will distinguish my work from the somewhat generic sci-fi setting I’d placed the world of Veedze in. Once I’ve completed draft 1, for a diversion, I’ll complete and publish here a short-story (starring my main character) that I’ve set in this brave new world.
In any case, I’m feeling both very excited and apprehensive at how imminent the next stage of the novel is. If only it didn’t feel like I’m about to be put on the great scales of judgement..