The first draft of my novel was a mess. I left a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions in place during my initial writing, in the interest in getting to the end. And then, I decided to change the voice of my novel from first person to third person, to enable some narrative tricks later on. Cleaning up the mess I left for myself in D1 took as long as writing the thing in the first place did.
I’m pleased to say I finished the second draft a few days ago. It’s a huge improvement. I wrote a lot of new material, and cut a lot of old fluff. This is a stronger draft; the pacing is better. I’m proud of it, but I’m in no rush to make another printed copy and do a read-through as I did with D1. The moment I finished this one, I went straight back to the top and re-worked the intro. I’m too aware of how much work there is left to be done to spend time celebrating.
I’m hoping that D3 is the art draft, the one that makes the story come to life. And after I write this third draft, I will be all out of excuses not to share it. A small, carefully selected group of beta readers can expect to give my novel an initial read-through in a few months.
It’s scary to think of putting this thing I’ve been working on for so long out into the world. I’m way too close to it to know for sure if it’s any good. Some days I know it will sit on the bestseller shelf at Barnes and Noble; others, I’m sure nobody will ever make it past the first two lines of my query letter. There’s no way to know without finishing this draft, though, so I lean towards optimism and write on.