The year marches on as we advance into March… or something. The last few weeks have been a little on the hectic side at my end, both on the writing front and in the Real World™, though I’m guessing it’s the former you’re most interested in, so I won’t bore you with the latter.
Since I last wrote to you, I’ve made significant strides with the redraft of the next Anna Scavolini novel, Women Who Kill. In fact, one of the reasons why this newsletter is slightly later in getting to you than normal is that I wanted to hold it back till I had a nice, meaty milestone to announce. I’m happy to report that, as of Monday morning, the second part (of five) is done and dusted, and the word count stands at a shade over 57,000. That’s a fairly impressive 40,000 words in the last month, and while a good many of these words were carried over from the previous draft, the overall shape and structure has changed so much that, in many respects, it feels like I’ve been writing a completely new novel.
My second drafts have a tendency to take a little longer to write than my first drafts. While that might sound counter-intuitive, there’s a fairly solid reason for this. My first draft is always the “brain dump” draft, where I get my ideas down on paper as quickly as possible, without giving too much consideration to how clean or coherent they are. The second draft is where, having hopefully figured out where the major problems lie, I make a concerted effort to write the novel that will end up on people’s bookshelves or e-readers. I take more care over my choice of words, and, if it’s a dialogue-heavy chapter, I often work out the flow of each conversation in script form beforehand, which lets me concentrate on the words the characters are speaking instead of getting bogged down with dialogue tags or descriptions of actions. For instance, here’s a conversation between Anna and the infamous killer, Sandra Morton, from the recently completed Chapter 17: