The first blog post I wrote here found me mid-second draft of my Devil's Wall novel. Six months later and two months behind schedule, I've finally finished!Just as I expected, now that I've completed a second draft, I have a tall pile of revisions that still need to be made. That'll be draft 3. I added a couple of lively action sequences in draft 2, plus a new character, that all need to go. Then there are a couple of fundamental changes I need to make in order for the novel to work at all.Here are a few things I learned in revising my second draft:
- I actually have 2 books! 600 pages of work actually makes two 300-page novels, each around 75,000 words. That's the right length for a debut YA novel.
- Structure is key. My story feels a little aimless, because there's no clear driving force. I have too many villains, too few motivations, too many fruitless encounters. I thought I had figured out a solid structure after my first re-read, but in fact, it's only been after months of rewriting that I've started to figure out what the real weaknesses are.... Or maybe they're smaller weaknesses than the ones I've already fixed?
- Character is key, too. The heart of my novel is Evgenia, my protagonist. Part/Book 2 is weaker because it's narrated by Anna. Even though it's plotted more tightly, with a better structure, I like it less than part/book 1. And that's because of Evgenia.
- See that? Half of the book is narrated by Anna, and yet I still call Evgenia the protagonist. That's a problem. I suspect I'll have to rewrite book 2 so that it alternates POV chapters, rather than dropping Evgenia entirely.
So, that and much more. I'm hoping that the 3rd draft won't take as long as the 2nd. It had better not. It took 20 months for draft 1, 10 months for draft 2....and I sure hope draft 3 doesn't take 5 months.But it might.