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A marathon of writing, rewriting, revising, editing…

November 22, 2010

Writers can’t help but feel a major sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and relief when they write that very last word on the first draft of manuscript. To take a concept from one’s head and create a story on paper (or in the computer) is a major undertaking.

I’m nearing the end of the first draft of a new manuscript, “Disciplining Emma,” the second in my Rod and Cane Society erotic spanking novella series. I have several chapters left to write, but I can see the finish line from here.

But the truth is, completing a first draft is more akin to slowing down at a water station than crossing the finish line.

The marathon is still in process. Completing the first draft is a mere pit stop. There’s a lot more to come. The writing part represents half the journey. The other half is rewriting, revising, and editing.

In August I finished the first draft of Spanking Melania, book one in my Rod and Cane series. Writing it was pure inspiration and joy, so much that I sprinted through the first iteration of 26,000 words in thirteen days. The story came so fast, I couldn’t type it quick enough. I was obsessed.

Rewriting and revising Spanking Melania took two and a half months to produce a final manuscript of 32,000 words. (While this might sound like considerably more time than the writing the first draft, writing is continuous while revision includes necessary built-in downtime).

In reading a published book, the plot seems to proceed logically from point A to point B, and writing appears to be a linear process. But it just ain’t so, Joe.

The first draft produces the story. The second and subsequent drafts produce the writing.

Think of writing as building a house, a house constructed by a very strange contractor. When you get done with the first draft, you have the basic framework complete. You can tell it’s a house and not a bank. You can see where the kitchen is going to be and you can identify the bedrooms from the living room.

But the rooms are in varying stages of completion. Some only have been Sheetrocked, some are painted and have flooring and trim, while others remain in the framing stage, and a few are bizarrely and contrarily almost turnkey.

Revising involves layering, going back to fill in those gaps in to ensure that all the rooms are turnkey and ready to move in.

In my next blog, I’ll share the steps I take to turn that half-finished house into a turnkey residence.

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