Thursday, April 9, 2009

Done with Sixth Draft--Transitions

I'm calling an official end to this draft, and I'm going to the copy shop this afternoon to print it out for my next readers.

That's a little over 9 weeks of steady work on this draft. When I started, I didn't have a real good sense of the timeline but I definitely wanted to finish this phase before the end of the semester, and I'm way ahead of that. I think I've pretty well addressed the three major problems I identified at the start. I'm not so sure though, and I'm starting to have doubts about other aspects of it, but we'll see what my readers say.

I'm giving it to a friend who is also a writer and experienced at giving critiques and to another friend who is just an enthusiastic reader. And I think I'll have my wife read it again at this point. She's read it tons, but it's been a few drafts and usually she was reading it piecemeal as I worked and revised, so never got one good look at it start to finish when it was standing still. I think she'll be surprised with a lot of the changes since the last time she saw it.

Next . . . I'm not sure. The most organized thing is not to touch it until I have feedback from those readers, but I'm not sure how long that will be and if I can wait. I'll probably take pages back from my wife as quickly as she reads them and start doing sentence-level work at least on that paper copy. It will be nice to get off this computer. (I read an interview with Wells Tower the other day where he talked about have a computer with internet and email for one kind of work and another computer with no internet and email for working on his book. I'm seriously thinking of a similar strategy in the future.)

So, maybe by the end of the semester or thereabouts I'll be set up to start on the next draft during the summer. I have a lot of paper grading to do until then, and I ought to be rustling up more paying work, especially for the summer. Maybe I'll put any writing impulse into short story work. (I've been thinking a lot about that second novel idea and resisting making too many notes so I don't get distracted from completing the first novel.)

The other factor in this transition is news yesterday that means I'll almost certainly be overseas for 5 months a year from now--similar to my 9-week trip last summer. I need to start earning money to make that possible and at the same time I want to make whatever progress is necessary to be done with this book before that. I have a dream that I'll spend that 5 months working on the second novel--it would be the perfect place and perfect situation for it.

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