I really hope 2021 is treating everyone better than 2020 did. I don't know what everyone's been doing but I've been trying to keep busy. I've been plodding my way through the first draft of Thy Choicest Gifts and I was so excited when I finished the first draft last Tuesday night.
I dove in pretty quickly to start working on line edits and finished the first round of line edits on Saturday, which now comes the task of incorporating the edits, notes and continuity checks into a second draft. Then comes the hardest part. Letting it sit. Critical distances is an important part of the process for me. If I come back too quickly after finishing the second draft, I'll miss glaring errors. I also use that time to give it to a few very close friends for a 'comment period.'
I sent the very, VERY, rough, first draft to another author friend and got back some lovely comments. That'll help when I come back to the manuscript a few weeks later to create the third draft.
In that fun, in between time, I'll be refocusing my attention on the second book in the Cryptid Chronicles series. The first book of the series coming along and I've finished a third draft for it and I'm letting it sit a while before going back for a final polish. I can't tell you what a mess that first draft was! The original manuscript spanned ten years and at least five complete rewrites before I had a manuscript that I was happy with enough to call a finished first draft.
With so much stewing for what I hope will be 2021 and 2022 releases, it gets a little chaotic sometimes. Sometimes it feels like the different characters are warring to tell their own stories, or their worlds are battling for precedence. It makes me think of a few quotes about writing. Hemmingway wasn't wrong when he said, "There is nothing to writing; all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." And that's okay, because the flip side is the that for as hard and easy it is at the same time, it's also "the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel like I should be doing something else." (Just gonna through in some Gloria Steinem for ya!)
My two favorite quotes about writers come from Carson McCullers and Victor Hugo. McCullers said "the writer is by nature, a dreamer; a conscious dreamer," and Hugo wrote "a writer is a world trapped in a body."
You see, for me, the struggle and pain, the blood letting so to speak, the tears and laughter, are all part of the process. From the draft to the edits to the final polish. Even comments bring the same feelings about. You remember what you wrote and why. You'll find in Thy Choicest Gifts a few passages where I put more of myself into it that I expected and that's okay, it's part of that trapped world, struggling to get out.