Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Polishing to a shine

Do you ever get yourself in a knot with all the drafts of your wip? I do. Early on in this game, I used to get myself in a panic, thinking I'd deleted the wrong version, but never actually did that.
Now I take a more measured view.  Instead of spending time comparing one version with another, which I suspect is, 9 times out of 10, a waste of time, I look at the dates, check the word count and then force myself to delete the oldest, assuming that the newest draft is the best one. So far, I have not had cause to regret this.

My oldest version of Capture a Queen dates from September 2010, when it had the title Treason until someone pointed out what Matho was doing wasn't exactly treason. It was a complete version. I finished Treason and then went straight on to volume 2, completed it and started volume 3. Alas, I did not finish that volume. I hit a difficult plot spot and decided I'd take a break from volume 3 and go back to volume 1 and read it over again. That was March this year. Since then, I've been working on what at various points was Treason, then King's Business and finally Capture a Queen, and it is amazing the changes I've made.

I see now where my writing was not as graceful as it could have been. Two sentences, sometimes three, have been pared down to one and that one more graceful than the originals. I've removed the dreaded Superfluous Words and inserted better, more descriptive verbs. Some dodgy plot points have been smoothed or changed or even moved to a different part of the story.
I am calling this stage polishing, for that is what it feels like. Buffing the story to a real shine, ready to send out.


Anita Davison said...

Drafts baffle me too - my editor told me that you are never in the same emotional mindset as when you compiled the original, so should be wary of changes as they strip character from your voice - but then as authors, we always want our finished product to be perfect - whatever that is!

Ursula Thompson said...

I'm still trying to make my story perfect - that's why it never gets finished.
BTW, why did you change the title? Honestly, I liked King's Business better than Capture A Queen.

Jen Black said...

Anita -Your editor seems to assume that you are in the same emotional mindset for the 3 months-9 months it takes you to write the first draft, and I don't think that is true. If you could enter and exit that mindset over that length of time, surely you could certainly re-achieve it a month later?

Jen Black said...

Ursula - Same here as to finishing!
I like both titles but thought King;s Business was a little loose. CaQ gives a better idea of the story - no?

Ursula Thompson said...

See, I think 'Capture a Queen' sounds loose - it just seems to hang there, with no connection to anything.
Also it just occurred to me it almost sounds like the title to a Harlequin romance book. King's Business is more serious.
But of course it's your story.