Third revision blues

The day I figured out that first drafts are the clay that makes the second draft, but with Shark Punching, the first draft merely hacked up some of the riverside. The second draft made good clay, but making that into the story now that I know where the story is going is needing a complete rewrite. Bits of the second draft fortify the third like bits of straw, but it’s mostly all new.

I’m not running out of steam with it, I’m just making a snail’s pace of the changes. Bit by bit, I know each scene is stronger for having the rewrite, but it’s mentally exhausting to be rewriting an entire book, scene by scene. I know who these characters are. I know what they want. I know what they’re afraid of and what they wish for and what they know they can at best hope for. They were just placeholders before, but they are three dimensional now.

I tell other people that this is what rewriting is. I know the story will be better for the new clay and the old straw. It’s just exhausting. I told someone yesterday that if they don’t put the work in, someone else will. I think it’s good that beginner writers don’t know how much work there is yet to come after the end of the first draft. It’s like buying a house when you think picking one is job done, but it’s just the start of the process, not the end.

But it’s good practice. And when I get to Drunks, Fools and Kings, it will have been worth every line edit.

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