This is the fifth in a series of blogs about the way I write a book.
So the day after I sent in my second draft, I got sick. That gives you some idea of the intensity of working on that draft. Fortunately, the third draft is a lot easier. I got back comments on the second draft from my publisher and my editor, and took in the changes that they requested. I think I have got the structure right and fixed the major issues that they had with the first draft, so at this stage it’s tinkering—making things clearer, adding detail, taking out unnecessary bits.
After that, I read it through again…and take in my own changes. It astonishes me that even after so many readings, there is still a lot of red ink on the copy I am reading through, as I reword sentences, and reorder paragraphs. I’m sure other writers don’t need to do as much rewriting as I do. I’m sure there are writers who can write perfect sentences from the word go, but that isn’t how it is for me.
At this stage I think about subplots and make sure that they are complete. Also have I followed through on the themes I have worked into the story?
With the book I am writing at the moment, it was only at this late stage that we finalised the title (it’s called Sugar, Sugar). For me, it’s only really when the book is finished that I get firm ideas about what the title should be. This one was particularly difficult.
I send the amended file back to the publisher. Meanwhile, other people are getting involved. Black dog books staff have sent off a design brief to the designers, and they are working on the cover and internal design. Someone else is drawing a map. (I love maps. Just about every book I’ve ever written contains at least one map.)
It’s past the point of no return for the story as a whole. Now I can relax…for a while.