After giving myself a couple weeks off for the holidays and as a break from writing in general, I’m finally sitting down to read my first draft. The idea is to read it as a reader (as well as I can) to see how the pacing feels, check for plot holes, how it holds my interest, so on.
So far, things aren’t going as well as I’d hoped.
Not to say the story is bad. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. What stands out to me the most is the pacing. Through ten chapters of reading, the book has a feeling of most things being ‘glossed over.’ Details are thin. There’s a layer of impatience to everything, as if I’m hurrying to get to the next scene.
Honestly, I’m not surprised.
Writing a book is obviously much different than reading one. A scene that can take an hour or more to write and tweak and feel satisfied with can take six minutes to read. That kind of time distortion is hard to account for when deciding whether I’ve written too much or too little. On this story, I feared writing too much and boring the reading, so I tried to streamline the story as much as I could.
Mission super-duper accomplished.
Along with that, I can tell where the shortcomings of my preparation are. A lot of the characters I have were created as I went, and I didn’t spend a lot of time developing them before plopping them into the story. Because of that, they sort of evolve as time goes on. Normally, you want that kind of thing, but it doesn’t work so well for my story as it all takes place within the span of a few days. Characters don’t generally do a lot of changing in that short of time.
There are some silver linings though. I still like the story. A lot. In fact, I’m pretty happy with how it’s unfolding. My goals of creating questions and intrigue work (in my opinion). There are reasons to continue turning the page. I’m also comfortable with how it all sounds, my ‘voice.’ Though the prose still needs improvement, I only want to tighten rather than change it completely. That’s new from a couple years ago.
However, all of this means my second revision will likely take more time than I anticipate. So be it. I’m self-publishing this thing, and I want it to be the best version I can create before posting it online. I’ll do myself a huge disservice if I don’t put the proper time into it. I’d love to be done with everything before July, but with a second pass to do, more feedback from beta-readers, covers and formatting and copy editing to do… I don’t know how realistic July is. It’s a goal, one I’ve broken down into little milestones. Only time will tell if July is realistic.
Either way, I’ll keep working toward that ultimate end, and then it’s on to the next one.