Not really sure what’s going on in this rough draft anymore. I’m a firm believer that every novel comes together differently, with me using different “tools” for achieving more effective writing and finding new ways to keep creative. Much of that stems from what I’m trying to do in the book, and I’m not just talking about plot but about craft. I usually have a “craft” goal for each book that I work on, be it as simple as wanting to see if I can make a bad character sympathetic or as complex as wanting to try a different style of storytelling altogether.
My firm rule of thumb for rough drafts is to never look back, as in writing new material every day. If I find I have to change something in the old material, I just write a note in the margin of the electronic copy and proceed forward with new stuff assuming that I have made the changes and they all work beautifully.
It’s a good rule, and part of the reason I can chunk out pages fast. But this one . . . This manuscript is behaving differently, and I have found myself for the third time jumping back into old stuff to add entire chapters. (That I can’t fake with a line or two in the margin, so everything grinds to a halt while I go back and chunk in 15-20 new pages of text.)
As I look at just what, (and who) is being added, I’m starting to see a rather disturbing pattern. I know that I’m looking both farther ahead than usual in this one, (all the way to the end of the series,) as well as farther back than usual, (seeing relatively big shifts I want to make in the book currently sitting on my editor’s desk.) It’s gelling faster than usual, and I think I’m catching things now rather than in the regular rewrite stage. At least, I hope so.
At any rate, it’s been both frustrating and satisfying the past couple of months. The page count is creeping up despite the fall-back writing, and I’m getting excited for the end. It’s starting to circle back.
Rachel herself is seeing this in both the people around her and the places she is–and has become both melancholy and strong in the changes that have happened and the things that have not changed at all. Maybe that’s why I have no fear of ending a series and beginning a new. Rachel is strong. Rachel has discovered a wisdom. Rachel is ready to move forward. And so am I as a writer.