I’ve reached my first milestone. About a week ago, I finished the new first draft of Dark Glass (a combination of writing new scenes and editing old ones).
After completing a first draft, I put it aside for at least a few days, just so I can get some distance from it. Then, I pull up the Scrivener file (that’s the software I use for writing), and compile a mobi file, which I then transfer to my Kindle.
I want to know if this draft works as a story, so I need to approach it as a reader. Creating an e-book of this first draft means I can read it just as I read any other book—on my Kindle, relaxing on the sofa or in bed, coffee at hand. As I read, I try to ignore grammar and spelling, and instead focus on the story itself. Does it flow well, with changes of pace that don’t jar? Does the plot make sense? Do the characters act and react in believable ways?
Whenever I start a read-through like this, I’m both excited and nervous—excited because I can still remember the good things from writing it, and nervous because I’m never sure how much will work, and how much will need major changes.
With Dark Glass I have more pressure, because I need this to be better than the original version.
And this new version’s not perfect. There are many things that need altering. Of course there are—this is a new first draft. But, overall, I’m very pleased with what I have now.
I’ve added more scenes than I’ve taken out, but I’ve tightened those old scenes, and this new version is about 10% shorter than the original. This means that it moves faster, addressing the complaint that the original was slow (it was). I’m pleased, also, with how Rodin (the main character) is more proactive the whole way through. Rather than waiting for an opportunity to kill Leopold, he’s working toward that goal from the moment he steps into the Dome.
But something else has grown in this version—Rodin’s inner change. Now, he’s more aware of how the Dome is altering his perception, and how he’s side-tracking himself from his job. It’s also opening up more possible questions about his past.
There’s more to be done, of course. I have a list of things to address now, notes on individual chapters and thoughts on the book overall. But I’m excited. I can’t wait to pull up the Scrivener file and dive back into Dark Glass.
Previous ‘Reworking a novel’ posts: