I have finished the third draft of my novel. It’s now five thousand words longer and considerably better. I think I’m pretty close to being done. Here is how this works, in my experience:
- First draft — I figure out what I want to say.
- Second draft — I say it.
- Third draft — I clean up the mess.
Here’s an example of the mess. I came across this sentence the other morning: “After a few hours we stopped to eat and feed the horses.” Wait, what? How can you feed the horses after you have eaten them? I guess maybe that wasn’t what I had in mind.
Was I asleep when I wrote that sentence? Drunk? No, I was just working through the action and not paying enough attention to the style. So that sentence is fixed.
Now I need to read through the whole thing again. You know, just in case.