By far the longest part of writing is revisions. First drafts are allowed to be bad. Some would even say they’re supposed to be bad. Really, the first draft is just to get the story down. My rule on first drafts is never look back. There is only one direction–forward. If I go down a rabbit trail, well, I just cut that part in the next draft. There are going to be things I have to cut. There are going to be things I have to add–settings and emotions I skipped over in the first draft, foreshadowing of things I discovered as I went along. Sometimes, there are just going to be things I got wrong.
Sometimes, in the process, I create even more problems.
I’m currently working on what I hope will be the last revision of MAGIC AND POWER (working title). This one has taken a more circuitous path than usual. When I started it, I expected it to be a novella. Yeah. Right. It’s 95,000 words now and likely to get a bit longer. Not a novella. Some reworking was necessary when I realized that. The conflict that will sustain a novella isn’t necessarily big enough to make a novel work. So the political background of the love story had to grow and take a bigger role in the story.
I intended it to be a love story between just two characters–until a third character popped up and turned out to be a better match. My first love triangle. And, on the first and second pass, I botched it. Knowing which character was going to win in the end, I didn’t make the other enough of a possibility. In this revision, I need to make that character a plausible love interest–better, stronger, less desperate.
Not content with that, in the process of creating a little more tension with the other love interest, I messed him up too. I want him to have some goals and methods that are annoying to the main character, so that their attraction to each other is derailed a few times before things work out for them. I took it too far. Now he comes off as pushing too hard.
Sometimes the writing process is two steps forward and one step back. Oh well, as long as the momentum is still forward.