The second step

I have been spending exactly 50% of my waking hours today (which is six at the time of starting this post, at 6pm) composing a Master List of all the beta reader feedback I have received, organised by chapter. The idea is that after compiling it I’ll go look at the chapters in question and have thoughts about stuff in conjunction with other stuff and CAN’T SOMEBODY JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO

Not that I’d listen even if they did. This process I’ve discovered I have through doing it is something I’m very territorial about, and will continue to be forever, because, well, it’s mine. But rigid principles do not inoculate one from having a hard time of things; just ask Ned Stark.

Oh, wait, you can’t, because he’s dead.

Pile on top of that a very-brief-and-not-quite-what-I-was-expecting-because-I-didn’t-actually-prepare-for-it session of asking somebody at the Arts Students’ Helpdesk at uni about possibly doing a bachelor of science and what would happen with my Psych papers that I took in my Arts degree in that eventuality, and I just feel pretty bleh about today.

But persistence is a virtue, or so I think I heard somebody say once, and who knows if that’s even written up somewhere official-looking like an ad in the window of a bus-stop, but regardless there is no point in me letting a few instances of indirection keep me down. I’ll finish this Master List, simply because I don’t know what, if anything, I ought to be doing instead, and strive to not listen to ‘He Lives In You’ from the Lion King 2 soundtrack anymore today, since I literally listened to it on repeat all day yesterday, and I think it’s probably done something to my brain. Although I also slept pretty well last night. And had a depressing-to-wake-up-from dream about a Chris Nolan/Christian Bale Batman TV show, which was, of course, awesome. In the one episode I got to watch the beginning of, Bruce was looking into purchasing a porn channel for some reason. I know the reasons he had for doing so would have turned out to be cool, if only I’d stayed asleep long enough to find out.

The advice I remember from putting my authorial troubles to Google is to focus on structure for the second draft, and then make draft 3 about ‘tidying up’, focusing on language and tone and all of that more subtle but just-as-important stuff, and that’s the model I’m using. And this does make sense. Perhaps I just need to re-focus this Master List of mine and instead just look at what people said about structure, and see if there’s anything I didn’t think of myself, and once that’s taken care of go back and look at … ugh.

And maybe draft 2 is actually going to be more work than I originally anticipated. Which wouldn’t be difficult, because I never had a very clear, detailed, comprehensive idea of what exactly my draft 2 process would look like. I have a checklist now, though – structure, characterisation, continuity – and perhaps that’s a good way to plan my next step, moving through these in order, one at a time, and once that’s handled then that’s draft 2 done.

And given that I have nothing else to go on, it’s good enough for now. So if that’s my plan, I need to work out how exactly I’m going to move parts of my story to other parts of it so that it runs smoother and feels more … better. More better. Yes. Exactly the words I was looking for. I suppose some writing will actually have to be done, to make these changes line-up. Copy-and-pasting and new documents with special names so that I can identify them for what they are. And in order to make sure everything runs smoothly, I assume I’m going to be getting very familiar with my manuscript.

Ah well. I should be anyway. It sucks to think about the very real possibility that I’m going to make myself sick of it, but it is heartening to think that I might also end up spotting heaps of issues that I haven’t yet with just the once-over. Or, alternatively, perhaps it would actually be less painful to just …

Write an entirely new draft … oh god … some people actually do that; it’s a valid option, and therefore one I should at least consider …


But on the plus side, I suppose, I would be able to measure my progress in words again! Though that sounds like a LOT of trouble to go to in order to simplify the way I take my manuscript’s measurements. Plus I’m rather fond of a lot of what I’ve written.

Anyway, it’s a direction to go in. Slowly. Very slowly.

And surely. Which is good. But it’s the slowness that is currently on my mind.

And I say I want to go back to university. I’m sure that’ll speed things up …


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