I can understand why some fellow writers dislike or dread the require re-reading or revision of The First Draft. Yes, typos and minor grammatical errors are bound to be encountered. The true misery comes when what you originally remembered as an erudite speech by a principal character now reads like something you’d overhear at a bar late-night time, or you find out that another principal character far from being a reflective and incisive person, when placed in the context of whole book is a stultifying and repetitive boring pedant. And then worse of all; half way through the plot seems to have evaporated. It happens. I feel your pain, I have been there.
Now personally, not truly being wholly respectful of Reality I tend to enjoy dip into the ones created in my books where everything is mine, mine all mine! Except of course when the characters take over and require me to chase after them and find out just where they have gone.
So there was/is Patchwork Warriors First Draft completed and wasn’t that a cool way to end this volume. Well, I says let’s see what is what.
Naturally there was the usual battle with Microsoft Word and the justifiable expletives at it over Reflexive Pronouns and other obscure rules of grammar which might be important in a business presentation but mean nothing in the world of literary endeavour. (I mean, be fair who interrupts your discourse with a cry of ‘You used a reflexive pronoun!’ and claps their hands over their child’ears?…..Really? I must come and stare at them).
The first problem was a usual one for me; I hate villains, blaming ‘successful authors’ for using Cliché Central to meet the deadline. So this really nasty guy had ended up like something out of pulp melodrama, all that was needed was a moustache and lines like ‘ Har-har! In Me Power’, or one of those dire half-paragraph god-complex asides beloved of serial killers. Well as much as I hate the little toe-rag I had to put some back-bone and originality into him. This had its benefits, this caused me to delve more into the scientific/magic background of the world. So all good.
Next came an issue which sneaked up on the proverbial outside rail. A nick-name used by one character to another; it had seemed to lend a flippant air to their relationship, but after reading it over and over and over I had to admit it was unoriginal and not the sort of thing the one character would have used, anyway there might have been a copyright issue. So recourse to the one useful Word trick ‘Ctrl+F and select ‘Replace’…. Wow 75 replacements…who’d have thought it???
Then going back to the scientific/magic background, as I footled about, the part of me fascinated by Quantum Physics and Cosmology began to nag away with questions like ‘How do they do that?’ or ‘Yeh, but if that is so..well what about that?’. This started a dispute with my literary imagination which demanded if I was intent on writing an alternative scientific treatise or a fantasy novel, ‘cas if it was the former then the imagination was going to take a walk. So over a coffee and a dish-washing duty it occurred to me this was a fracture society still grasping with fragments of knowledge, so who would know everything….well no one of course. (Naw, one character with encyclopaedic knowledge of the world and massive controlling powers is no fun at all in a fantasy novel, ends up coping -put all over the place).
Then there was the dropping out of bits which were long asides and all fun slowed the pace down, or were now redundant with other changes…..Some were not bad, so Highlight; Ctrl+C, then over to a document I keep for bits I might use again and Ctrl+V and back to the novel and ‘delete’, so nothing really lost.
The book is thus morphing, which is how it should be and it’s good fun, because I do like my central characters and one of the villains and it is nice to speak to them and exchange ideas…..yes you can do that, it’s perfectly alright; don’t worry about that ‘Reality’ thing.
If this sounds very familiar to you, congratulations you are on the Good Road. Rewards yourself as follows
Buy yourself a book, you can never have too many books and anyway it’s all part of the literary process.
Treat yourself to a cup or mug of tea or coffee of your choice.
Have a biscuit or snack of course choice.
(The above are important to maintain your energy levels)
Indulge with 5 mins of
At your favourite media target.
And strive on writing!