The Second Draft
The second draft is a dangerous place.
The first draft is pure invention, racing, stopping, skipping over things. My drafts are series of scenes often written entirely out of order. There are the solid bits built on tissue as delicate as cloud.
The second draft is building, firming, structural, logistical. It’s when the story actually takes on the shape I’ve discovered in my skull, but which isn’t yet on the page.
It’s the draft of doubt. When I finish a first draft, it is always anti-climactic. I don’t finish at the end though I’ve never gotten through a draft without having written the final scene. I finish when I feel that that process of skipping and racing and leaping is no longer constructive, when I’m beginning to wonder if I can actually add anything to the teetering chaos. It’s when I’m beginning to worry, and not play.
The drafts after the second are usually more playful, and the editing (after I have done as much as I can alone) is always something that I enjoy, but right now I am ocean swimming and I’m in deep water, heading further and further out, and I don’t know when I will reach the shore (or even if I reach it) all I know is that it is a long way off.
(That, by the way, is where the last Death Works novel sits. The fact I’ve written three other books since, says just how tough a place that can be.)