January 11, 2008

At last! Despite the come-and-go 'flu I've been battling the last two weeks, I finished the first draft of Lake on the Mountain. And, I'm happy to say, I'm thrilled with much of it. A first draft for me is simply a version of the book completed from beginning to end. The rough draft, which I'd finished some time ago, had a number of chapters sketched out in point form, waiting to be filled in. Some of the final chapters gave me quite a bit of trouble, which isn't unusual as that's where a great deal of the sweat goes into rounding things up in way that agrees with the novel's beginning. The second draft, which I won't start just yet, will be an assessment of what works and what needs cutting or reshaping.

Drafts for me are fairly major revisions of a book, and I usually create between 6 and 8 drafts of every book, plus many smaller revisions, called 'passes.' The final polish comes only when I'm fully satisfied with the final draft. This particular draft weighed in at just over 78,000 words, a trifle long, but if the writing is strong it won't feel like a slow book. I'm guessing that by the time I've finished it will be closer to 75,000 words in length. Needless to say there's still a lot of work ahead.

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