Another Milestone

The third draft is finished.

I sometimes wish there were a checklist for successful writing: Write four drafts, and then you will have the perfect book.

Unfortunately that’s not true.  Some people write far more drafts of the same book before they finish.  Others write all those drafts and finish books that never sell.  It’s another reminder that you probably shouldn’t write for the money.

The ending to this draft came sooner than I had anticipated.  I planned three parts for the novel (as I described here), but the finale showed up in part two.  Go figure.

The next part of the process for me will be two-fold: (1) Passing the manuscript on to a few beta readers, and (2) letting the story settle for a while.

Some people advocate waiting a month before picking up the story again.  Others are even crazy enough to suggest six months–they’ve clearly given up hope of selling copies any time soon.  I plan to take all that advice and boil it down to about…a week.

That’s all I can stand.  To go without writing for weeks, months?  The stories would boil up inside me.  I would have ulcers.  I’d be a terrible person.

Yes, I could turn to other stories.  I could try my hand at short fiction again, maybe take Ray Bradbury’s advice and write one short story a week.

But my heart is still in this story–the one I just finished.  I want to get a clearer idea of what happens and who everyone is.  I want to know the world of the story better.

Besides, there are no hard and fast rules about writing, are there?  If e.e. cummings can throw out capitalization, why can’t I just jump right into the next draft of my story?

Maybe I’m arguing with myself.

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