Thursday, August 5, 2021

Switching Projects

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

 Like most authors, I work on more than one book in a given year. Unlike most authors, I don't proceed immediately from the first draft into revisions. I let the book "rest" while I work on another project. I'm able to do this because I don't have any contract/deadlines at the moment. I prefer writing this way so that I can come back to a project with both fresh eyes and enthusiasm. (This also allows me the option of abandoning a sub-par book--not all ideas are equal and some turn out to be ho-hum. If I'm not enthused about a project, chances are that readers won't be either.)

I  try to balance my year between first draft work (which I find more fun) and revision (which is sometimes fun and sometimes a slog).

I started off the year revising By Glamour Deceived a paranormal romance. Then I switched over to Mike & Angel 5 (working title), and finished off a first draft which I'd last worked on in 2017 when I ran out of steam on around the 30k mark. Then I wrote the first draft of Mage in Coma (working title) another paranormal romance, finishing in July. I recently spent a week doing a small but vital edit to my epic fantasy novel The Simple Queen.

Now, in August, it's time to return to Impersonating the Queen, book two in a YA fantasy series. Book one, Replacing the Princess, has been my main project for the last few years and I'm eager to finish off the story.

My first step in revision is always to reread the current draft from start to finish, jotting down chapter summaries and revision notes as I go but NOT STOPPING to fix anything. I want to see how the book stands as a whole.

According to my notes, I wrote the first draft of Impersonating the queen in Aug-Oct 2020, basically a year  ago. And yet I remembered almost nothing of the plot. 

Uh-oh, I thought, this can't be good.

With some trepidation, I started to read... and was greatly relieved when I became caught up in the story. The prose is rough, some transitions are missing, the character arcs need work and the point-of-view balance is off, etc. etc. BUT the bones are good. The diamond in the rough is there, it just needs polishing. A process which I fully expect to take me until the end of the year.


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