Going back to the start
Having finished the first draft of the second novel, I now return to the last draft of the first. Having felled copious trees and emptied two ink cartridges, I add the latest draft to the pile of drafts I have written, to be read tomorrow and pulled apart, rewritten and reassembled. When I’m finished reading and finish rewriting, no doubt I will ask myself the same question I asked last post. Am I done yet?
The answer will still be no. There will still be drafts and rewrites ahead of me, drafts that come from the comments of readers or editors. There will still be many drafts ahead. But the thing of it is, I know I’m getting closer to seeing the story I mean to write. It is clear now, even if my photo is blurry. I can picture any moment in the book like a still or moving image. I can move forward or backward from that moment. I can change perspective, change point of view. The story itself and the characters who live in it are as clear to me and dear to me as flesh. And after the wading through a first draft of a new project, that surety is a comfort. It is like sitting down with an old friend after a long absence. An old friend who you can see more clearly, perhaps, after spending time with new people. You can see, perhaps, how you both have changed. It is somehow, a little like going home.