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.

 

41 comments:

  1. Hi Lynda - well it's working for you ... and I love your books ... take care - Hilary

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  2. I think the more we write, the less time it needs to sit as we get better.
    Either that, or I'm just impatient.

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    1. Yeah, we become more objective...but still I find some stories need more time than others.

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  3. Hi,
    That's my opinion also. Each book is different. I agree with Hilary, whatever works for you.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Yes, I think everyone is different so what works for one may not work for another.

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  4. First of all it's awesome that you have so many books out! And I love hearing there is no set amount of time that works for you, depending on the story.
    Kathy

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    1. Thanks so much :)
      I surprised myself when I realised how many books I had, lol.

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  5. Some things take longer than others. I think that's pretty much true of anything!

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  6. That's great that you do what your manuscript requires. It sounds like you've figured it out pretty well given how fast you were able to publish your series.

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    1. You'd think, but I'm not so sure. I'm always coming across road bumps ;)

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  7. Every story does have its own demands! I'm still learning how to listen to them properly!

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  8. Yes, there is no magic formula for making books great. It would be awesome if one existed!

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  9. “A slave to the needs of each story” - ain’t that the truth! Thanks for sharing your different approaches. Sounds like you have it figured out :)

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    1. Maybe I don't have it figured it out, coz every book has been so different ;)

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  10. We have the same editing system--whatever happens, happens. It seems to work for me and I see that it works for you.

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    1. Sometimes I wish there was a formula. It would make it all so much easier.

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    2. I agree. The next best thing is to be flexible! :-)

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  11. My editing process has been different for each project, as well. Non-fiction was easier, primarily because I had a publishing deadline, which tended to bring out the responsible adult in me. With fiction, I'm completely unsupervised. :-D

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  12. There is definitely no magic formula.
    As one of our IWSG'ers put it: "each story sort of has a life of its own and “tells” me how it wants to be treated".
    That about sums it up!

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  13. I don't have a writing process because for many years, my health often threw wrenches in my writing goals. Maybe now, my surgery will have helped resolve that and I can come up with a process and actually get to answer this.

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  14. Interesting summary of your books. Each is different and I can see that working. There's a rhythm to writing we don't control, do we?

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  15. So true about there being no magic formula. My new book was two years in the making. Life jumped in with a couple of huge belly plops.

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  16. I loved the Wielder trilogy. I always highly recommend it. Love your writing. I am a superfan.

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  17. Hi Lyn! It's encouraging that as you move along in the publishing process, things happen faster...or do they always? It seems once we start, we're on a roll at least for awhile.

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  18. HI Lynda,

    I work in the same fashion, whatever the time it takes and whatever the needs for a particular project. My first novel had about thirty-five revisions or more and has sat for years at a time. I may give it one last going over because I still believe in the story. My second novel has gone through many revisions as well and also has sat for years. But, there has always been interest in this novel, and I will begin querying it again. As for my latest, well, It's on its second rewrite and I decided not to give the WHOLE story. It is a memoir/biography, and the first have of the subjects life is far more interesting then the later years. Time to send it out and see what the agents say. My editor wants it all, but the person whose story I am writing wants me to leave out major parts of her life, not my story, so I must respect her wishes. We shall see what happens.

    Hope all is well with you, Lynda... Have an enjoyable weekend!

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    1. Some projects just need that extra time to rest. Best wishes for your querying.

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  19. Yeah, it seems it's project dependent for me too. Which kinda makes sense. :)

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  20. I do like my tea well soaked LOL I do think that many writers should have spent more time on editing and thinking their books through as I sometimes get to translate some that needed to ripen first before being published.

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    1. We do get too close to the story to see, thus the need to let it rest longer than we often think

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