First Draft Done: Round One Revisions Underway

by | May 9, 2012 | Blog | 4 comments

I got to type “The End” on the first draft of the second book in the Galactic Mage Series on Saturday. It felt great. Saturday was a pretty hardcore writing day, too, nearly 9,000 words in one sitting. I was on a tear and really wanted to get it finished, and now it is. (Happy dance!)

For anyone who wants to follow along on progress easily, I’ve added a page in the Bookstore (menu on left) for Rift in the Races too. I mostly put it there so that people who come to the site looking for the sequel can find info about it that doesn’t require slogging through my blog or finding info on Facebook, but it also makes a neat and tidy place to pop in for the short version updates.

Yesterday was the first day on revisions. I spent some time on Monday debating whether or not I wanted to jump right in on revisions or if I wanted to go back and read book one again. I have detailed notes about everything in the first book, but I want to make sure I don’t have any continuity issues in book two. The best way to do that is to refresh the first book in my head. However, I think this first draft of RitR is so rough that that level of detail won’t matter yet, so I decided after warring with myself yesterday over it, to go through it once without rereading The Galactic Mage all the way through.

I think I can get a very readable version together for my beta readers that way, and I’ll worry about small bits of continuity when I go back through it again based on what the first readers have to say. I can read TGM while they are reading RitR.

I had fun going through the first three chapters of the sequel yesterday, since I haven’t seen any of this stuff since it came out of the ether as I wrote—it’s interesting to see what I wrote, especially knowing what I know now having finished. I went through chapter one twice and chapter two once, plus I decided to break chapter two in half, which then led to my having to renumber all 81 chapters, which then led to the discovery that I had mis-numbered some, throwing the total count off anyway. I ended up with 84 chapters by the time I was done adding 1 to 81. Hah!

That said, it was a fun day starting back through. It’s a different kind of work than creating a story out of thin air. It’s easier to revise in one way because there’s already something to work with now. But now it’s also crunch time. It has to be good, so there’s more pressure.

I find myself worrying if anyone else will like it as much as I am as I read through the draft. I try not to write from that stand point… you know, writing to please others. I try to just write the story and let it be what it is, but now, I have the added thought that it needs to be good for others, too. And, once you get this close to something, in a way, it’s impossible to say anymore one way or another. I just have to do the work, try to employ the things I’ve learned about the craft of writing to the best of my ability… and hope.

I put a lot of faith in my beta readers, and hopefully they’ll all be super honest. The last thing that helps is if people are too nice when they are going through draft versions. I’m counting on them to be brutal, but I’ll try to make it as good as possible before they get it so they don’t have to suffer through too much misery. (I’m driving my wife nuts with my back-and-forth swings on “Omg, this story is sooo freaking amazing” and “Omg, what if it is horrible?” If you see me walking around somewhere with a big red handprint on the side of my face, you’ll know I finally did that one too many times and drove her to violence.)


In the meantime, I have a lot of work before I hand it over to them, so, back I go into the salt mines of grammar, spelling and reading stuff that makes me go, “WTF was that sentence suppose to mean?”


  1. Michele Benner

    Where do you find this kind of blind obedience to that great god “Discipline?” Wishing you all the best…anxious to get my nose into this one. 🙂

    • John

      Hah. Psychosis is probably more like it. You know though, that’s a good subject. I am doing a guest blog in a few weeks, and maybe that could be the subject I touch on: discipline. Cool, I was literally trying to come up with an idea this morning, and you just gave it to me. Thanks!

      • Michele Benner

        You’re more than welcome…think you could find a way to give it to ME? The discipline, I mean.

        • John

          Probably not, but I can say, it helps to WRITE down a goal, divide the goal into pieces that can REALISTICALLY be done in a day, figure out what date you will be done, and color in a calendar square in a nice bright color for every day you have taken a step towards your goal. Days with no color on your calendar show you why you haven’t achieved the thing you want. They also motivate you (they do me anyway), because the “white” days look like failure. There’s a little endorphin rush you get from coloring the square in too. Seems silly, but I think there’s some decent science behind it.