In writing “Winter is Past,” I spent much more time on editing than on writing–but that’s part of the package, isn’t it? Now that I’ve completed the first draft of “The Sin of His Father,” I’m getting geared up for revisiting what I’ve written. While editing can be somewhat tedious, there are bursts of creative bliss that make the task exciting.
I approached novel #2–“The Sin of His Father”–from a totally different direction than my first novel. I wrote “Winter is Past” without an outline and without a clue as to what would happen next. The plot did unfold eventually but I got lost many times, left story lines incomplete and found numerous contradictions in the process of rewriting. Because of this, I had to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. I can’t count how many drafts I dumped into the recycle bin.
My approach to “The Sin of His Father” has been the opposite. A few years ago I wakened with the story and pulled myself out of bed at 3 AM to outline in bold strokes. A couple of months later, I went to the desert and completed a detailed outline along with character, setting and scene descriptions. The actual writing wasn’t enslaved to the road map, though. I’m amazed at how the characters continue to take me to unexpected places; twists and turns surprise me along the way. But with the outline I have an idea of where to go next. The scenic routes I follow find their way back to the main highway sooner or later.
My almost-daily writing routine included a quick edit of the previous session’s work. Other than that, I did not allow myself to look back over the entire manuscript. This has hastened the completion of the first draft, but who knows what awaits me when I set about revising.
Since becoming involved in poetry communities, I’ve put aside that manuscript. Now with the holidays approaching, the time crunch is even more obvious but it’s time. I’ve given my first draft to a friend from my writing critique group to review. It’s waiting for me to dig in. Next week, I’ll discuss some of the specifics that I’ve found useful in the process of revision.