Second Draft of a Twisted Road

Write Hard Die FreeLast evening, I was so happy to be back with my writers group that I forgot to post I was there. We’re doubling up for the next few weeks (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) because some of us want the extra dedicated time, and I’m all for it. I’m thrilled because I haven’t been able to attend (for one reason or another) since before Thanksgiving, and that has been nagging at me. It’s not that I can’t write at home; it’s just that sometimes life gets in the way of carving out time to devote to working on either of my novels. I write for a living (for two magazines and a newspaper), and income-producing writing always comes first. Right now, I’m with my group for the second time this week, and I can’t wait to dive into my work.

Last week, we were supposed to double up, but the weather killed that – the library closed early both evenings. For those who don’t understand what a couple of inches of snow on top of a sheet of ice can do to hilly and twisty-turny roads when those streets are the last ones plowed – if plowed at all – well, let’s just say that in the Raleigh-Durham area, where straight, flat roads are at a premium, no one was on the roads. And that included me.

Tonight I’m continuing what I started yesterday. In my work on the second draft of the YA novel, I’ve been plowing through, chapter by chapter, and now I’ve come to one of several chapters I had decided should be added. At first it felt as if I’d come to a complete standstill, but I persisted. I made notes. I organized them into sentences. I moved them around. I debated a formal outline vs a loose one vs no outline at all. Whichever method I choose, I know I’ll make progress, happy in the knowledge that this is only the second draft.

But that happiness also carries a “geez” factor because I’ll be thinking of the epiphany I had the other morning regarding the YA novel. Without getting into details here, I’ll just say that something that had been nagging me all along resolved itself if even as a decent springboard of possibility. I dashed to my computer and typed in all of the thoughts I had, ready to work and rework when it comes time to start the third draft. Yes, I made the promise to myself to complete the second draft as started before ripping up the symbolic road I just laid down. Starting over with the epiphany guiding me, shifting some gears in the middle, won’t get me where I want to go because the first half would always be closer to completion than the second half. I’d never feel as if I were getting anywhere, and that’s certainly not where I want to go, no matter how many twists and turns I have to navigate along the way. I’m not going to allow myself to spin wheels of any kind.

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