Wouldn't it be great if the novel was written smoothly and perfectly the first time? Reading someone else's work always seems to lull me into thinking that their writing process was effortless. But any writer will tell you that couldn't be further from the truth.
As I slog through the process of revising my second novel, I'm struck yet again that most of the writing process is actually rewriting.
In draft 3 of BLUFF, I made some major structural changes. I added a lot of details and I rearranged the order of several key scenes. But now, as I begin to work through things, I've discovered glaring time problems:
- haziness about when things happen
- mix ups in the sequence of events
- arbitrary decisions I made earlier which now threaten to slow the pace or derail the plot
Thankfully, the organizational groundwork I laid down in draft 3 is now paying off in draft 4. The wisest thing I did back then was to create a list of scenes. It's an elastic document that expands and contracts as I note various details: title, subplots, action, problems, number of pages, a cumulative word count, etc.
Now, as I deal with those pesky time problems in the current rewrite, I've begun to nail down when events take place, noting them in the scene outline and adjusting them in the manuscript. I ran into several major timeline roadblocks in the second half of the story that I've slowly been untangling. I suppose I could go into detail for you, but that would be boring and could inadvertently give away plotting secrets.
The point is that taking the time to be organized has, I believe, streamlined the rewrite by making it easier to navigate quickly throughout the work and make the necessary updates.