Two days ago I finally –finally– finished the fourth draft of my latest Corrosive Knights novel (Book #5 in the series). Frankly, I was hoping that draft would take not too much more than a month or so to do and I would finish things up and have the book published by now.
Not the case, unfortunately.
The book is quite big, story-wise, and I believe I mentioned before that it could easily be broken into two separate books. However, given what occurs within, I felt the novel was best served as being “done as one” rather than doing a breakup.
What caused me so much delay in this draft was the reworking of certain plot elements and the subsequent re-writing it entailed. The first part of the book required little more than grammatical fix-ups. The story there was well set up with the exception of one segment early on that needed clarification/re-writes. The second half of the book, though, cost me all this extra time.
I don’t want to get into too many details of the story itself, so suffice it to say that what weaknesses I felt were in this later half of the story have, for the most part, been fixed. There is still work to do of course and I anticipate going through at least three to four more drafts before being comfortable enough to release the novel. All that means is that instead of being available this year as I hoped and prayed, book #5 in the Corrosive Knights series will instead be done by early next year, perhaps in February or March.
Unlike what you may see in the movies or TV (I’m looking at you, Castle), writing takes considerable effort and time. You don’t simply sit before your computer typing for a few “intense” hours and –voila!– your book is done. At least for me, the process of writing a novel requires an incredible dedication and is an almost schizophrenic experience where you have to be your greatest fan as well as your worst critic simultaneously.
You have to show complete love for the work you’re doing while second guessing every step of the process with the hopes of making it better and better and better yet.
My latest novel, in its fourth draft, is far better than it was in its third draft. The third draft, in turn, was several hundred times better than the second. The first draft had the elements of the story but was missing huge chunks and could rightly be called little more than a story map or guideline rather than even a “rough” novel.
With each draft, the story elements are fixed a little more. In time, I find myself moving away from fixing the story and more toward fixing the grammatical problems. It is then that I know I’m getting close to the end.
We’ll see how draft #5 looks!