If you haven’t been following my Trollbooth blog, you can catch up here.
Time for the 3rd draft!
After spending a week or so clearing my plate so I can focus on one big task for a while, I’ve returned to the revision of Trollbooth. The goal here is to take the typed manuscript and fill it out from rough narrative to full telling. You can see how my writing process works here.
Since I’ve intentionally stayed away from this project for a stretch of time, I felt the best way to begin was with a read-through of my 2nd draft. It’s like a survey; what exactly do I have out there? What in general is missing? I’m keeping notes as a go using an app called Evernote, which I love because it’s cloud-based and works on any device. I make notes on my phone, and within seconds they’re updated on my Mac and my tablet.
So far, I’ve read about 50 of 175 pages. My major concern is for the opening chapters. It’s clear I was still finding my way when I originally wrote them. There are contradictions and narrative breaks where the story doesn’t flow, and even a few passages I want to take out entirely. That’s just how it works for me. The beginning is important for the usual reasons, but I’m also feeling pressure to make it as engaging as possible. Trollbooth is, after all, the start of a series. If it sucks at the onset, nobody’s going to read as second, let alone finish the first.
The good news is that it’s not as bad as I’d imagined. Most of the elements I want are present and fairly well-developed, but out of sequence. Reading the manuscript has helped me see how to fix it, and I’ve got a notion of how the one from-scratch addition I’ll need to make is supposed to go.
I expect the reread to be done by this weekend. I don’t know yet if I’ll tackle the new beginning first, or if I’ll get down to line-editing the manuscript and leave the major work for last. It’s likely I’ll do both at the same time, drive myself a little crazy, and love every minute of it. The one thing I know for sure at this stage is the book isn’t as shabby as I feared. I’m entertained to read it; now all I have to do is make it so the reader’s experience mirrors mine. It’s a tall order, but it’s do-able