For me, one of the most appealing aspects about novel writing is developing a plot and writing that first draft. I’m one of those who likes to take a pen and paper, or pencil as the case may be, and just go with the flow. Sure, I look at my outline occasionally, but outlines are merely guidelines; something to be changed and improved upon.
Once that first draft is finished, I spend a great deal of time editing. I’m constantly rewriting, cutting, and smoothing out the rough bits. The process is slow and usually takes eight or nine drafts over a long period of time. Sometimes it’s disheartening to realize that only a small percentage of my writing time is spent creating new work. But it sure is terrific when a contract comes through and that cheque comes in the mail, or through PayPal these days.
This past month was a rare treat for me. I plotted a new mystery (the fourth in a series I’m working on) and started writing the first chapter. As things turned out, though, I also heard from a publisher who’s interested in the first book in the series which I submitted over a year ago. She’s offered some helpful comments, so once again I’ve pulled out that manuscript.
It’s been so long since I finished editing that book, it almost feels like a new work again, which could be why I’m enjoying the editing process so much right now. Meanwhile, the new novel now sits on the backburner, simmering away, patiently waiting and, honestly, I can’t wait to get to it either. That’s one of the many thing I love about writing. Perpetual optimism.