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I finished the third draft of Power of the Mages last week. In order to gain some distance from it before reading it, my goal is to write a planned 60,000 word rough draft of Daniel Darcy 1 – The Exardo Invasion during the next 7 weeks.
This schedule is aggressive, which means that something has to give. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to sacrifice some blogging. As of now, I’m cutting back from 5 days a week to 4. Since it seems like Monday is a low reader day, please look for posts Tuesday through Friday for the foreseeable future.
Yes, I did go for the lame apocalypse tie-in. I feel you; it’s not my finest hour. On the other hand, I’m going to have “It’s the end of the world as I know it…” stuck in my head all day, so, if I’ve managed to inflict the same upon you, it makes me feel better.
On with the actual subject of the post: Yesterday, I send the last section of the 2nd draft of Power of the Mages to my beta readers.
Aside – I sent the book in (6) five-chapter increments. Because of where I was on the learning curve, this method helped me. The knowledge I gained from reading the comments from the first part made the later chapters better. However, sending the work out piecemeal made life difficult for the readers. They couldn’t really get into the flow of the book, and I made changes to the plot and character arcs (even names!) in the later chapters that made them go, “Huh?” I’m going to have to send the finished 3rd draft out for more comments. Summary – though doing it this way worked for me this time, I wouldn’t recommend sending out incomplete works.
Now, I have a huge challenge ahead of me. I want to get my novel in the best possible shape to enter in Amazon’s contest on January 14. My first goal is to get as far on the 3rd draft as I can by January 7. To give you an idea of what this means:
- 1st draft = word vomit
- 2nd draft = coherent and readable
- 3rd draft = more emotion and tension, tighter POV, a lot of little things that will more engage the reader, pick up beta reader comments
Best case scenario — and this is really ambitious — I’ll get through Chapter 10 by the 7th. The question becomes: what is the best use of my time in the remaining week?
- Take another up to 3 chapters from 2nd draft to 3rd draft – OR
- Go through all the rest of the 2nd draft chapters and correct major errors and typos based on beta reader comments.
The arguments for the first path are:
- I doubt I’m going to win the Amazon contest with a submission that is only partially finished with the 3rd draft, so, rather than wasting my time making corrections that I’ll have to go back over anyway, I should just continue on with the 3rd draft.
- A few more complete and totally engaging chapters will give me more of a chance to win than getting rid of typos in the last half of the book.
- My writing improved markedly after around Chapter 14. The last half of the book is much more polished than the first half, so my time is better served working on the worst sections.
The arguments for the second option are:
- The 2nd draft is really rough in spots. If I don’t smooth it out, I have less chance of winning.
- Typos and mistakes will completely sink me.
That’s the debate I’m having internally, and I’d love some input in the comments section.