Didn’t I just post that I was done the second draft three weeks ago? Why am I only starting the third draft now? I didn’t go on vacation or lose interest in writing. While writing the second draft, I also wrote about 70 blog posts on writing. Many of those were on how to write a better novel. I took my research to heart and revised my outline.
Thirteen chapters were removed that didn’t move the story ahead or contribute to character development. This is the “cut big” part of “cut big, then cut small”. The smaller cuts will happen as I write the third draft and when revising the final.
Eighteen chapters were added. This may sound like I’m defeating the purpose of cutting big and adding a lot of first draft chapters to this revision. Not quite.
The cut chapters were early in the novel. Cutting them will cause the tension to build faster. The added chapters are late in the novel where everything is getting out of hand and the main characters lives have taken some wild turns. Those chapters will make the story clearer while increasing the tension.
The new chapters will be first draft, but I know the characters now as if they are real people. I spent three weeks on the outline to be sure this draft will be the last before the final revision for minor problems.
The second draft took 5 months. I’ve already spent 3 weeks on the third draft outline, so I’ve got 4 months or less to write the third draft itself. I don’t just write about how to write faster. I intend to do it myself.
What has changed in my story?
The central question of my novel now stands out to my satisfaction. Research helped with this problem.
My protagonist is now much more clearly defined instead of disappearing amidst the cast of other active characters. The change in his character is also more dramatic.
What has changed in my writing?
My idea of adding a synopsis led to an opposite result. It’s almost Taoist. I realized I was creating a complicated task by having a synopsis, bullet outline, and outline to update from each other. I dropped the synopsis and then I dropped the bullet outline too. They served their purpose by helping me write the outline.
My writing focus has also changed. My article a day task built up such an archive of finished writing articles that I can focus on my novel and still post three times a week while I write the third draft. This was a deliberate move. Writing tips, tricks, and techniques don’t get old and I always do a quick final review before posting. When the third draft is complete, I will return to writing articles first until I have enough to get me through the final revision. This seems like it could be the perfect cycle for writing every day without growing bored of it.
My challenge now? Can I write the third revision before the end of August?
On a final note, my search for a good title has ended. I found one that fits perfectly and haven’t been able to find any published books using the same name.
It’s time I got writing. The sooner I get this novel finished the better. I’ve already got my next novel giving me ideas.
Article by Ivan Izo.