Finished the second complete draft of my first novel, THE REFLECTING STONE, this morning. The later chapters are certainly first-draft material again, rough around the edges. Still, out of the many thousands of pages I wrote the past week there is a lot of really solid material to work with. I am guessing now that I'll end up with a third draft, but I'm not sure yet. At any rate, some of what I have is definitely what I want, and some of it is "getting there". I may just rewrite the portions that need it and tie that in with the chapters that I'm happy with. I'll have to wait and see.
Next is a short break from this, so I can gain a little distance, and then I'll read over what I have and assess the damage. Then I'll decide what needs rewriting, and whether to rewrite the whole thing or just sections. Then I'll get to work on that. I'm only a few days after my self-imposed deadline of the end of April for the completion of this draft, close enough. I can take the time to figure things out and still get another complete draft done within May or by early June.
My goal is get a COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT done as soon as possible and to start sending it out. I will take the time I need, but hope to get it done this summer, which was the same time I set for last year -- last summer -- but I was much too premature with that goal. I'm much closer now, might actually make it this time around.
I'll consider whether to work on another novel, one I had planned in detail last year (OCCUPANT), or work on my second novel, doing another rewrite of that (THE ISLE), while I let this current draft cool off. I wonder whether I should avoid any more work on THE ISLE, though, until I pin this first novel down very tightly, because that is the sequel, and my first draft gave me enough to work with, and any more work there would be tenuous at best while this first novel is still open to "tweaking". OCCUPANT would make a great side project, not too long, not too complicated compared with THE REFLECTING STONE.
Oh, and by the way, I still LOVE the characters and the story. I haven't gotten tired of it or them yet. I only get that way when I go over and over the same few scenes or chapters again and again and again, rewriting and editing them. Otherwise, I don't tire of the work.
Also, going so quickly this past week has helped me see the story in a more cohesive fashion, which is lost when I move more slowly. I really got into it, and was amazed at how I was able to keep track of so, so, so many details, raising questions or setting up things in one chapter, coming back to them repeatedly, then resolving them in later chapters. I had no idea I could keep track of that much in my head. It's good to push myself, to raise my limits, expand my horizons. That's the way to learn and grow, and see just what I'm capable of.
Well, I'm off to take care of other things. I hope to find something to work on quickly, though. I don't think I do as well if I take a total break from the writing, unless I'm really burned out. It's best to keep the momentum, although I'll work at a slower pace in the coming week after the mad rush of the past week. I'm afraid if I stop altogether for a week, I'll find it hard to get started again. Maybe this is a time to write some other stuff, develop some other ideas, just to keep plugging away.