Writing a book part 25 - redrafting

It's all complete crap, of course. That's what every novelist thinks when reading back their work. Right?

It certainly is in my case, since I've started editing the first draft of my book, which I finished last month, after 21 months of writing. In the process, I found out how much the book will cost: £29.80, the price of printing and binding it at Mail Boxes Etc. Not much room for profit on top of that.

first draft.jpg

And while it's exciting to have something printed, there is still loads to do before it's ready for the next phase - whatever that is. Sending it to agents? Publishers?

Anyway, there's at least entire one chapter that I need to write, because I somehow forgot to write it first time round. And I might completely rewrite chapter one, which I don't think sets the right tone for the book at all, and involves a few characters who don't appear at all in the rest of the novel.

It's also clear that I will need to work on the characterisation to make it more consistent. When Freddie Farnham first appears, he is talkative and slightly arrogant, but by the end he is thoughtful and sensitive. I'd love to say that's a journey that the character goes on, but in reality it's inconsistent characterisation.

I suspect there is much more descriptive work in the early part of the book too. I think I must have used up all my similes and metaphors in the first half, whereas the second half is much more functional and prosaic. Again, I want to be consistent in style. 

So, it's all complete crap - apart from the bits which aren't too bad, and perhaps even a few bits that I think are rather good. It's quite nice to re-read an entire book and come across passages which I don't remember writing at all, and which hold up pretty well.

There is much more to be done, of course. I was envisaging having a finished second draft by Christmas, but some of the rewriting seems like it might require longer than that. Furthermore, my word count is only 61,000 - 19k short of my initial target, which is very annoying. At my average rate of 300 words per day, reaching that target would take another 12 weeks at least. 

Still, it's taken me two years to get this far, so what's the rush?