Drafting, drafting, drafting

Originally published on my previous blog on 02.09.2018
Couldn’t resist… there is a big horse theme in Cliff Edge!
I’ve just finished up the third draft for my agent, which probably makes it… God, I don’t even remember anymore. Maybe the sixth draft I’ve done overall of Cliff Edge?
I’m planing to do one more read-through before I send it off on its merry way to Steph and Izzy and then sit down and panic a bit and throw myself into a brand new story idea to keep busy waiting to see what they say.
What’s been really interested about this whole process is how different each draft feels. The first time I did a major rewrite (and I mean major, I scrapped the 55,000 words I had almost entirely and only kept about three scenes, which added up to less than 6,000 words together), it absolutely flew out of me. I knew where I wanted the story to go and I had a great grasp on the main character at last. It took me almost exactly a month from starting again to finishing, and it was on the strength of that draft that Stephanie offered me representation.
Then I did another draft, this time with direct feedback from Steph and Izzy and a member of the Curtis Brown foreign rights team, and again it came fast. I rewrote around a third altogether I think, and it shot out of me in two weeks.
This time it has been a slow and tortuous process. The suggestions and feedback were so helpful, and I could see exactly what they would do for the story, but my brain was just not helping me weave it all in. It’s taken me nearly six weeks this time around even though I’m rewriting less.
I think my major problem is that there’s a lot about it I’m sub-consciously loathe to let go of, even when I know that it will improve the story to do it. Some things have been the same since my very first version of this story, completed over a year ago, and I have had to accept that now is the time to bid them farewell.
I’ve started to make steps in the right direction with this draft at last, and it’s such a relief to finally call it finished and send it off. I know the feedback will be immensely helpful again.
But I tell you what… I can’t wait to work on a new story at last!
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