Tuesday, June 14, 2016

what we talk about when we talk about drafts.

i've never looked at this data before much less thought to share it, but when new writers are excited because they've "finished" their novel, i'm never sure how to break it to them that they probably haven't. each time i make a major change to a novel in progress, i create a new file. sometimes these are also overhauls, complete rewrites. often i'll write the first fifty or so pages of the material but as drastically different novels -- even versions that exist in different genres and for different audiences. after a novel has a first draft, i rewrite heavily again, sometimes wholly. here's a list of the numbers of drafts (files) of certain novels i've written, including three current works in progress.
PURE -- 33
FUSE -- 16
BURN -- 15 (numbers go down because major decisions of world, tense, point of view, genre, audience had already been made in the first book of the trilogy)
HARRIET WOLF'S SEVENTH BOOK OF WONDERS -- 39
PROVENCE CURE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED (as Asher) -- 19
ALL OF US AND EVERYTHING (as Asher) -- 26
THE EVER CURE -- never published, pulled from the contract because the editor and I couldn't see eye-to-eye, a sequel to THE EVER BREATH -- 19
of my current works in progress, two have full rough drafts. one took 21 passes to get to the first draft. one took only 10. Both have many more to go. a third work in progress -- that has drastically different versions staring at me -- stands at 26 files and none of those files will likely be close to the version that will see me through to some rough first draft.
and then just to mess with me, there's THE PRINCE OF FENWAY PARK -- 2. just two. of course it then went through copyedits and proofing cycles in-house but still this kind of experience -- when it comes out in some way really clean and whole -- damages all expectations and keeps some twisted hope alive. it just never happened like that for me again. whatever you take from this post, don't hold on to this part. trust me, don't.
oh, and none of this includes reams of notes on the wall -- click here to see what i mean