Last Sunday I finished the second version of Sky High’s draft, and I already sent it to my alpha readers. Time for celebration! 🙂
Yes, you read correctly: That’s the second draft and I sent it out. So, how does this fit the revision process which I said I’d follow here?
Let me rewind a bit.
About two weeks ago, I bought the NaNoWriMo story bundle – a great wealth of resources on how to write, which I can only recommend. I started by reading Writing to the Point by Algis Budrys. He breaks down the essential elements, which make up a story, into a very easy structure. His down-to-earth pragmatic approach to writing, and making a living from your writing, appeals strongly to me.
Next, I chose Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing by Dean Wesley Smith. The book is actually a polished version of a series of posts he has up on his blog. You can read them online here, as well as his second book, Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing.
Dean also has a very pragmatic approach to writing, which is very similar to Algis Budrys’ – and that’s probably not a coincidence, since Algis was Dean’s mentor. These two posts resonated most with me:
After finishing NaNoWriMo in 2014, I was wondering: If I can write almost 2000 words in about 2 hours per day, how come big writers publish only 1-2 books per year? The numbers just didn’t add up – especially looking at grand masters like George R. R. Martin or Patrick Rothfuss, who take years to finish a book. I wasn’t able to get a satisfying answer and concluded that these people probably spend a lot of time on book tours and other promotional events.
Therefore, reading this chapter was a revelation. 🙂
Brandon Sanderson once said – I believe it was on Writing Excuses – that it took him so long to become published because during his initial years he never edited his books. So, naturally, I assumed that this is what I had to do: edit and rewrite.
Dean has a valid point, though: When you’re creating new content, you’re working from the creative side of your brain, whereas when you’re editing you’re working from the critical side. And the critical side is just not as good at creative tasks as the other half. So when you edit, you’re basically submitting your work to all the rules and assumptions you’ve picked up during your life. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a bland mush, and nothing of your style – nothing remarkable, which makes your work stand out from others – will be left.
You still have to review your writing, for consistency and spelling mistakes etc., but Dean recommends you don’t rewrite unless you’re getting paid for it. His reasoning is simple: Instead of wasting all that time trying to make the perfect book, you could be creating new assets – new stories.
I love his pragmatic reasoning, and his approach to writing is very appealing to me. I have to admit that I was demotivated by the prospect of having to revise my story 8 times. And the idea of rewriting it doesn’t seem fun – especially after seeing that I really like what I have written. So I decided to work from a 3 draft system, like Dean:
- Write the story
- Review for consistency and spelling/grammar mistakes. Then send to alpha readers
- Correct mistakes found by alpha readers, then publish / submit
So here I am. I decided to go for Indie Publishing and will now work on the book cover, and setting up everything else required to make my book available to readers.
Have any thoughts or comments? Send me an email or post here! 🙂