Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Milestone, of Sorts

I finished the first draft of the work-in-progress last night. Took me almost three times as long as usual. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. There were a lot of plotting issues, including a misguided attempt to write this one by the seat of my pants. I won’t soon try that again. I have great regard for writers who can do that well, which includes most of my favorites, but I’m just not wired that way. I need to know what happens when I sit down to write it. My outlines are flexible, but I need some kind of map.

Enough of that. Events made this one take forever; so be it. That’s not the only unusual thing about this project. I usually get right back into the second draft, while some ideas are still fresh in my mind, but that’s not going to happen, either. Instead, this book will lie unattended for two or three months while I do a re-write on an older project that has come close a few times. I have an idea I hope will make the protagonist more compelling, and I’m changing the relationships he has with a couple of the primary supporting characters. I’m looking forward to doing it, and I’ve found an agent who said she’ll look at it when it’s done, so there’s no time like the present.

The book that’s being left on the hard drive will worry me a little. I’m not sure how much I like it, or how well it holds together. Friendly advice and personal experience tell me that’s as it should be; few books worth reading were written without any doubts during their creation. Still, I can usually get right back to work to address these doubts. Not this time.

What I am looking forward to is becoming re-acquainted with my PI. We haven’t had much to do with each other in over two years now, as I worked on other projects while the first book of his potential series circulated. As I’ve noted on the blog before, I think PI stories are potentially the highest form of crime fiction, and Nick Forte and his supporting cast are my favorites of all the characters I’ve come up with. It will be nice to see them again.


pattinase (abbott) said...

As I finish up the second novel, I wonder whether to go back and work on the first one again, now that it's aged a bit, or forge ahead with a second draft. I rewrite so much as I write it feels like I've done ten drafts already.

Dana King said...

I've already been through seven or eight drafts of this one. It circulated, and was finally withdrawn because the protagonist wasn't "interesting (read: damaged) enough." So I'm giving him some issues and adding to a couple of the supporting characters and we'll see how it goes.

Part of me is looking forward to this. Another part is thinking I've already read this book more often than the pope reads the Bible, and it's getting old.