Posted on 02 May 2012
So, I have decided I really want to keep piddling around in the world Tijervyn is set in. This is not so bad a thing as I have four different nations and four different Meisters of the Secret to play around with. In particular, I want to go back to the novel that actually started this, a manuscript I tentatively have titled “Of Brass and Blood” that takes place several years after the war between Sentat and Adervyn, and takes place over in Adervyn besides. The fun part, as I wrote this before Tijervyn, it really isn’t a sequel, despite taking place years later. Heck, in the original manuscript, very little to none is said about Sentat, and Quintin, while a character, never mentions that silly halfman he made that was really Sentatian, or his fellow Meisters. Probably because that whole idea was created for Tijervyn…
But, there is a problem.
The manuscript is kind of in a “not worthy of toilet-paper duty” state. Yeah, four years ago when I wrote it, it was a good example of where my craft was. Well, I’ve kind of grown as a writer in four years. I look at the prose, the dialog, everything really, and I cringe. The basic story is still pretty good (although I do want to tweak it here and there), but I am basically looking at 97k words of uselessness. So, I need to redraft.
Let me be clear in what that means. See, a second draft, in my opinion, is after you do a substantial passthrough-edit that might change somewhere around 20-30% of the words. Thus far, I have never actually done a second draft. This is because I am what is sometimes called a “one draft author.” This means I spend a bucket-load of time outlining and plotting and world-building in separate documents, and then I write a first draft that is pretty dang good and needs maybe 5-10% editing done.
Okay, so, I haven’t sold a book yet, so I guess they need more than that, but it feels like I have pretty well represented my potential at the time of the draft with the first draft. I let it set a bit, then look back through it, and find a few changes I want to make, but mostly am okay with it.
So, what is a redraft? I redraft is where the author realizes the first draft was more like a practice run and rewrites the whole dang thing. I have done I once, with my first manuscript, and it did massively improve the book, but gorram was it a painful process. See, this is because I cannot just use the old prep material. I have to look through it all, decided what is good and to be kept, and then I have to decide what needs cut out. It sounds like it should speed the process up, but honestly, I feel like I am slowed down as I double and triple examine everything, both trying to remember what I ignored to begin with in the manuscript, what I have changed in edits, and what I might have once thought was a good idea and now don’t like.
I am thinking of taking a leaf from what Tijervyn has taught me and just (re)write the first chapter, cares-to-the-wind style, and see how I like it. I mean, I know what I need to foreshadow already: I have written this book before, and who knows, maybe the characters will help me decide where I need to take the new parts of the story.
In fact, I probably will do that. I wrote Tijervyn as an exercise, so I had best use these new muscles. A bastard hybrid of organic writing and world-builder/outliner writing. Mwahaha and all that.