I’ve been slowly making progress since my last post. I’m nearly two-thirds of the way done with draft number four, which I hope is my final draft. I was going gangbusters in January, February slowed down as I had a freelance web design project to do, and then things picked back up in March. April was challenging because of some health issues, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be better able to manage those in the next couple of months.
While going through this latest draft, I’ve noticed some interesting tics I have. Whenever I want to downplay something (that really doesn’t need to be downplayed – usually context is enough) I use the word “merely.” I would sometimes use that word, or a variant, dozens of times within a chapter (which seem to average about 20 pages in the current font and spacing). I think I managed to reduce my word count quite a bit just by cutting out that word. As an aside, I did leave it in the few times it made sense.
Another thing I noticed I spent a lot of time doing was using words other than “said.” “Growl,” “snapped,” and “barked” were the most common. I guess I’m writing about a pack of wolves or something? I would often pair these words with a facial expression, such as a scowl, so sometimes using “said” worked just fine, sometimes using nothing at all worked better.
Something else I discovered is that I think I can do without an entire couple of chapters in the middle. I’m planning on doing a fifth draft and leaving them out, then rereading to see if the story has lost anything critical. I’m reasonably confident about the quality of my writing, but one thing I feel particularly confident about is that the story reads pretty quickly. I also enjoy reading it, which has made working on it a lot easier.
Sometimes I’m still frustrated by how long it has taken me to do the revisions, since it only took me a year of lunch breaks and a few extra hours here and there to write the first draft. On the other hand, I feel that the second book has benefitted greatly from percolating in my brain for the extra time. I’ve completely revised the ending in my mental outline, and I think the entire series will be stronger for it. As rewarding as the revision process has been, I’m still very much looking forward to getting back to doing some writing!