Wednesday, June 2, 2021

On Resting a First Draft #IWSG

The IWSG question of the month: How long do you shelve your first draft before reading and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt? 

Regardless of my six published books and the countless others I’ve written, the drafting process of every book has been different. 

The first book I ever wrote has been shelved for a gazillion years—after years of writing the first draft, then multiple rewrites with little sitting time between drafts. Same with the second and third books, although the third one got shelved after the first draft.

The fourth was the first I got published and that had mere months between polished drafts while I sent it off to friends, family, and an editor and waited for their feedback. Once completed, though, it sat for years more, because I hadn’t been sure what to do with it. It was non-fiction—my daily devotional, Cling to God, and my writing focus had changed back to fiction during that sitting time. 

Then life unceremoniously reminded me that it would be tragic to let the completed book disappear into oblivion. So I found a wonderful publisher, edited it again, and got it out there. 

My fifth book then got a revisit. I had paused worked on that one after the first draft, stupidly convincing myself it wasn’t good enough. Because of that foolishness, it languished in isolation for too many years. That was Wielder’s Prize. It ended up being my fantasy novel debut. And I’m so proud of it. During its editing phase, it percolated for a couple months between drafts as I waited for professional feedback. 

Wielder’s Prize needed a series. So Wielder’s Curse and Wielder’s Fire were written. Wielder’s Curse was born during a particularly difficult time in my life. It was a mess when it was first drafted. I had to let it sit before I could finish it, let alone rewrite it. Finding clarity had been a massive struggle. Time and pigheadedness fixed that. 

Wielder’s Fire wrote itself and it got almost no sitting time by comparison. Only a few months while I worked on marketing and covers and everything else associated with releasing books. 

And that’s just part of the story. I have more books under my sleeves, but as I said, they’ve all been different—different in the way I approached them, how long it took to write them, how long I let them sit, how often I reworked them… and so forth. 

There is no magic formula. I am a slave to the needs of each story and the demands of life. 

How about you? What’s your writing process and how long do you let a story sit? 

This post was written for the IWSG. Every first Wednesday of the month, members post on their blogs about their writing insecurities or offer some encouragement to others. If you are new to the IWSG or want to learn more, then please go HERE.