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(pronounced Ko-Hane)
Dan is the Bram Stoker-nominated author of Plague of Darkness, Solomon’s Grave, and the critically-acclaimed Margaret's Ark. Writing as G. Daniel Gunn, he released Destroyer of Worlds and the novella (written with L.L.Soares) Nightmare in Greasepaint (Samhain Publishing),. His short stories have appeared in Cemetery Dance, Shroud Magazine, Apex Digest and many more. He and his family live in New England.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

3rd Draft 1% done... Just a thought

Yea, I know, I just posted an update, but as I drove back from a late lunch where I finished up the second draft and began the third, something occurred to me and I wanted to get it down for posterity. I've been using the blog primarily these past 4 months to chronicle the genesis of a novel (not to mention keep myself moving forward on it), to see, for me at least, the various stages of writing, then editing. And, man, that was a long sentence....

Anyway, the first draft is basically a mad mind dump, where I never look back and allow myself to write anything, playing with words and leaving literary carnage in my wake. But the story gets written. The second draft was, as I expected, mostly following behind the first with a broom and cleaning up the aforementioned carnage. Also, this is where I have to clean up the plot points, especially in the first half, now that the story is completed. Pretty much every sentence had at least one fix needed, usually more, but to be honest this time through the mess wasn't too bad. I also tend to add more words, enhancing some scenes and coloring in the boxes as I go along.

Already, in the short bit I've done for the third draft, I can already see what comes next: cutting. Cut, cut, cut. One of the things I find often when critiquing others' stories is the problem of too many words. You need to allow yourself diarrhea of the keyboard when slapping the clay onto the - spinning clay thing - but now that the foundation's laid, the writing is too verbose. Time to tighten up, see where 10 words can work where I'd written 20. Etc, etc. I know in much later drafts, it'll come down to culling out the weak words like just and seemed (one of Fran's pet peeves). But this draft will be fun, I think. Cutting words out. I added 4,000 words to the manuscript in just the second draft. It won't surprise me to find when the third is done, I've cut at least that much. Different words, maybe. Still, when I'm done, the writing will be better.

Even better after the fourth draft, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. So, in summary so far: 2 months for the first draft, 2 months for the second. I'll shoot for one month for the third....

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