Feedback on my novel is beginning to come in from my brave set of readers. Thank you all, it is greatly appreciated. (I’m still taking feedback from those I’ve yet to hear from, btw).
In the mean time, I’ve been going back and fleshing out the background information for the next pass. I’m discovering something of a chicken/egg paradox. My first draft would have been so much better had I gone through this exercise to begin with. But then I suspect it was only by going through the first draft that I learned where the holes were that needed filling in.
However, I believe I also learned enough from both exercises that when I write my next novel I will know what at least the basic level of pre-planning I need to do, and I will be able to be better prepared. I’m sure the first draft will again reveal the holes in my planning, but I suspect they will be fewer.
What is interesting is that the background information I’ve created comes to around 20,000 words (and I’m not quite done, either). That’s a fifth of the length of my first draft–and I could easily write more. And perhaps more is needed. But I’m coming to the realization that if I don’t get writing the second draft soon I may never get back to it at all. It’s probably best if I jump back in now and uncover more holes that need to be filled as I go. But now, since I’m not in NaNoWriMo mode, I think it should be okay to stop and fill in holes as they occur to me rather than finishing an entire draft and then looking deeper.
When I get started again it will be new territory for me. I’m not a re-writer. Everything I’ve ever done, even work I’ve submitted somewhere, has been written in one pass with only minor changes, mostly spelling, grammar, and word choice. I’m not bragging, because I suspect that’s the reason why I’ve not become better in all this time. I have to change the way I write, and that includes learning to rebuild the story from the ground up if necessary. If I’m able to complete the second draft it will be a major milestone for me.
Hopefully it will be a first of many new milestones on the way to reaching my goal.