I am a slow writer. No so much for blogs, or short stories, but for novels. I plod along though characters and plot. I’m guaranteed to stall at chapters 3 and 13 and not until I’m in the last ten (of generally 40) chapters do I zip along, confident in where my story is going. By this time, a good six months have passed between chapter 1 and chapter 40.
That’s not a bad thing for me in the editing process. My first draft is right out of Scrivener. I run it through Word and a spell check and take it directly to Autocrit. The Autocrit program looks for pacing, passive voice, overused words. All the nasty little items and cause a story to slow until the reader wants to toss it to the wall. Autocrit takes another week or two. Depending on whether my day job has me in Miami for a week or so. Then I settle in for a two to three day read.
That’s where being a slow writer becomes a plus. By the time I get to the read through, I know my characters and my story, but I’ve forgotten the detail. All those little moments that make a novel memorable. The turn of the phrase in this chapter, the dialogue in that. I read my second draft as if I have never seen the book before. It’s all new to me again.
Even reading with a critical eye I find tiny gems amid the OMG I have to cut this out sections. Those little gems make me keep reading and writing. They are the surprises in the first draft. The bits and pieces that I know I will keep and that keep me writing.
Writing is a hard process. It’s one that I love, but it is difficult. By the time I finish a book, I’m thinking, this was so hard to write, no one will ever want to read it. When I dig into the third draft, and realize I’m turning some of the pages wanting to know what happens next (and yes, wearing my red pencil to the nub) I believe again. By the end of the third draft revisions, I’m ready to send my newest child out into the world, confident again that it’s worth the read.
How about you, writers, how do you feel at the end of the writing process? Readers, what keeps you turning the pages?
Kait Carson writes mysteries with a Florida flair. You can connect with her on twitter, @kaitcarson, on Facebook, facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor of by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org