Yesterday I completed Draft 2.0, the complete online read-through and major problem/gaping hole fix. The story now reads (I think) as a unified narrative without major bumps or inconsistencies. I just need to apply a couple of character tweaks before I print this monster out and do the hard copy edit. I’ve already mentioned in previous posts that the hard copy edit is where I get my best sense of the novel as a whole, but I can already tell that my ending (mostly written months ago) will need some major shoring up and correction– more detail, less heavy-handed on the “this is the moral of the tale” and maybe a little less maudlin. I am also concerned that perhaps I have not adequately highlighted how Kathy has changed/grown over the course of the novel. Fortunately, I expect the hard-copy edit will help me see how to deal with these issues.
The more I think about it, though, the more I realize it’s deceptive to talk of discrete draft versions. It’s more a process of refining, of first getting rid of the gross impurities, and then the trace elements, and then completing the finished work. Certainly I’ve discovered, since self-publishing on Amazon, that even novels and stories I thought were finished have needed more editing and correction (“I misspelled Louisville?? Aaagh!”). Samuel Delaney, years and years ago, wrote something to the effect that a published work, if the author is a professional, will and should go through multiple stages of draft, final draft, correction and revision. This is probably doubly-true of the self-published work, which is definitely a high-wire act with no net (assuming the self-published author gives a damn, which many don’t).
Having said that, I am feeling better about this piece. I’m getting close.