I am now about 72,000 words into the first pass edit of The Fifth House, which is the sequel to The Only City Left. (You can sign up for my newsletter to be notified when The Fifth House is released.) As I mentioned last week, I am using this first pass to look at the structure of the story as a whole, from where the chapter breaks are, to character arcs through the book, to where certain scenes need to fall in relation to one another.
In the process of rereading my first draft, I’ve come across a series of chapters that will require some major rewrites, if not completely new versions. When I write a first draft, I write write write, at least 1,000 words a day, every day. It forces me to keep going when I might otherwise stall out. Generally, it’s a good thing, but sometimes, as with these chapters, it can take me far down a dead end path.
So I need to go back and rework those chapters, but at least this time I have a better sense of where not to go with them. In fact, reading them and seeing where the story went wrong , I was able to make an outline for how to guide the story in a better direction. Edits like these can feel a bit like I’m moving through molasses, but I’m hoping that once I have the structure and pacing locked down, I’ll be much better able to focus on the sentence-level work of making the writing flow and sound right, confident that the big picture is working for me.
Photo Credit: No Cars-1 by Ze’ev Barkan.