Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Third Draft'll Nail it?

Well, they never said it was easy. Working through the Proof Copy of Mai Shangri-La has been something of a humbling experience. I finished the first draft in a whirlwind six-month stint where I never missed a writing day, and then, following Stephen King's advice in "On Writing", I put it aside for several months while I went on to other writing projects. Then I printed a hard-copy, read it over again and cleaned up the remaining punctuation errors, grammatical faux pas and basic story detail.

I guess I came back to it too soon, though, because when I submitted the second draft to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, I actually thought it was a pretty clean copy. It's only now, when I'm actually holding what feels like a "real" novel in my hands, that I can so clearly see the many rough edges that still need polishing. I'm almost glad now that I got knocked out of ABNA early on. The MS needs a LOT more work!

And so it's back to the beginning, doing a line-by-line edit and review, rechecking, of course, for things like punctation that's still buggy and adverbs that still dangle obtrusively (see what I mean?) following verbs that aren't specific enough, but this time also stepping back a bit and scanning for an overal narrative flow and story cohesiveness. So far, I'm finding an average of four obvious edit requireemnts per page, and these are taking me anything from five to fifteen minutes to fix, so quickly doing the math, I see that I've got about a hundred hours of third draft work here before I'll be satisfied that I've finally got the thing ready to release.

My intent is to get this all done by the end of April, to submit the new draft to CreateSpace, and then to start promoting the book through every contact I can muster. I'm not trying to get rich here (I think my royalty on a $19.95 sticker price is 93 cents), but I would like to either sell enough copies to be able to consider myself a published writer and move on to other things - or attract the attention of an agent or publisher who would offer to represent or publish me, respectively. But you know what they say about Good Intentions...

Having just complete the first draft of the second story (the Wayback Machine), I'm also finding a lot of potential for linking back from the second story to the first, and in some cases, this means I need to set these links up a little better in Mai Shangri-La so that bringing them out in Wayback makes more sense. Chalk up another few dozen midnight-oil sessions. Sigh...