As I hoped, the second draft of my novel went a lot faster than the first. By the time I had finished the first draft, I had pages of notes about what I needed to change, and I came up with lots of new ideas before beginning the second draft. New characters showed up! Old characters disappeared! Motivations got rejiggered! New plot twists got twisted!
There’s more to be done, but at least now the thing feels like a completed novel. It exists; before it was more or less a jumble in my mind.
Here’s the kind of thing I’m going to have to do now: the last words of the novel used to be “Gwen repeated.” But this morning I decided they should be: “Gwen said again.” But as I say the words over in my mind, I’m not entirely happy with the internal rhyme. Will anyone care? No. But I think I better change them back. Or maybe not.
A note on the authoring process: somewhere on this blog I’ve talked about rewriting on a computer. Computers make it easy to use your original draft as the basis for the rewrite, but that lessens the incentive to re-imagine your content. This time around I started with a blank document, but I copied the first draft into it chapter by chapter. Often I would use a sentence from the original; occasionally an entire paragraph. But mostly the text was there to remind me of what was going on, and most of it got deleted as I completed its replacement. Overall, I managed to reduce the books length by about seven percent, which was one of my goals. The first draft didn’t feel quite streamlined enough for a private eye novel.
Now on to the tweaking!