Surveying the damage

It took me about six weeks to fully read through my first draft, which included 2 1/2 weeks without a babysitter, extensive note-taking and some light editing.

After coming off of the high of finishing the 400-page draft, returning to the earliest days of Part One, Scene One was, well…absolutely depressing. According to my husband, I was depressed for the entire first week.

Like so many things in life, it felt like the Magic Mirror Gate from The Neverending Story:

Next is the Magic Mirror Gate. Atreyu will have to look his true self in the face.

So? That shouldn’t be so hard.

Oh, that’s what everyone thinks! But kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men find out that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away, screaming!

And good writers find out that they are bad! In small doses, over and over again, for six entire weeks. There’s even a small chance I’m a better person now for having done it.

But Part Five really held up, and is actually pretty exciting and amazing. One of the reasons for that, I think, is that for all that I didn’t do yet in the previous sections, I did manage to successfully lay out the necessary groundwork for Part Five. And now that I’ve gone back and re-re-read some of the worst chapters, it’s easier to give myself a break.

It’s really just a first draft, simultaneously overwritten and underwritten. This is also the first time I’ve written anything in the first person, and I’ve realized that that, alone, is probably going to require an extra draft over what I was planning just to drill down one more layer into Mika’s inner monologue.

So I spent one or two writing sessions last week reading through all of my notes, and then most of today’s developing the next outline for the first serial in this universe–covering a quarter or so of the material from the full draft, while adding more.

So, without further ado, here is my first book (please don’t plagiarize me!):