I finished the second draft in September 2009 and devoted some time to writing other things. I entered a few contests, but was unsuccessful. In December, I printed everything out and began to reread, make notes, and chart things out as before. I invested in a bulletin board, pinned all my bits of paper to it this time and had a really good look at the structure. The puzzle still wasn’t together in the right way.
Without the prologue and the framing pieces, nearly 100 pages disappeared from the manuscript. Third time through, I cut mercilessly, and though I also wrote considerably to add to the novel, the net reduction was over 300 pages. I was now below the 1000 page mark, an accomplishment in itself.
Finished in October of 2010, I was feeling fairly good about this draft. Once again, I turned my attention toward writing other things and once again submitted a few short stories. Unsuccessfully.
I decided that I would attend the 2011 CAA CanWrite! conference and booked a 20 page manuscript evaluation. Though the conference wasn’t until May, I started reading and making notes all over again. This time, I played with POV.
I had the first two chapters revised by the time the conference came around.
What I learned:
- If the changes that occur as you revise are substantial, then you still have work to do.
- The value of a bulletin board for structural rework is immense.
- Always have backups of the work.
- Prologues and framing pieces are about telling. Consider carefully.
Books on editing that have been helpful:
- The Artful Edit, Susan Bell
- Revision and Self-Editing, James Scott Bell
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King