Done? Yes. Ready? No.

The second time around, you’re a little smarter.

When I wrote Reswyt, I was just dumb enough to write and write and write until I’d packed the book to the rafters with designed plot and characters built precisely from my notes. The book was at a healthy 100,000 words-plus; I’d do a quick run-through and make sure everything was as it should be, and then it would be off to press. Right?

Wrong.

Your designed scenes, I came to discover, make up about two-thirds of your finished book. The other third comes from emergent scenes – those scenes and sections and plot beats you need to connect, organize, and energize your designed scenes. (Or, sometimes, to make sense of them.) The net of that dilemma was that, by the time those emergent scenes were done,  I had written way, way past my target word count with Reswyt. It reached 160,000 words at one point, and I had to cut deeply to make it work as a finished product.

The second time around, you’re a little smarter.

So, with 85,000-plus words of designed scenes, I’m putting it into alpha form and giving it a read. I hope the necessities jump out at me the way they did in Reswyt.

Once your emergent scenes are down on paper…er, Scrivener…there’s also the task of finishing and polishing scenes. I forgot about that, too, the first time around; I’d have set down the germ, the essential core, of a scene without truly evolving and completing it. Sometimes, in completion, those scenes led to other necessary scenes and ideas…and in the end, I was writing and cutting at the same time, a strange confluence of tasks – creation and destruction simultaneously.

Next, there’s the task of going forward a bit, and then coming around to the book you’ve written. Nekhet was on paper in outline form before Reswyt was done, but once Nekhet was formed as a concept, I found I needed to plant some seeds in Reswyt to set up the next book. So I’ve got to do that again with the third book – and that takes time, too.

And finally, there’s the beta and gamma reads. Beta is for ensuring that the book has no obvious glitches or problems, and gamma is for polish and luster. During the gamma of Reswyt, I literally resolved to improve every single sentence in the book, either by making it tighter, or more colorful, or simply more enjoyable to read.

So if I see you, and you ask…I’ll tell you the book’s done. What I set out to write, is written.

But it’s far from ready.

 

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