Keep The Car Running

Happy December everyone. I say “Happy December” because I’ll be too busy to say “Merry Christmas”. I’m mired in rewrites on Magicians Impossible, which is due at my publisher’s on March 1st – three months from, well, NOW.

It’s going pretty well so far. Second drafts aren’t necessarily easier than first drafts, but I enjoy them more. If I’ve done my job on the first draft, the second can be a lot more fun. That’s because you’re whacking away with hammer and chisel, finding form in the formlessness of your first draft. That is if you did the first draft the way you should.

Your brain has two hemispheres. The right hemisphere is art/imagination. The left hemisphere, logical/analytical. This illustration sums it up beautifully:


When writing a first draft you want to be firmly in the right hemisphere. You want to splash color, you want to make music, you want to create. You don’t want to think about word count and page count. You want to express yourself.

When writing the second draft, you want to use the left hemisphere. You want to focus on words, on sentence structure, on page count, on word count. You want to edit, cut, revise. You want to deconstruct and rebuild.

What you don’t want to do is write your first draft with the left brain. You don’t want that kind of control over your imagination. You want to fly but the left brain grounds you with a weight tied to your leg. You can take halting, brief flight, but you can’t soar.

That’s why I don’t do NaNoWriMo or ZD30, as elaborated on in a previous post. Because they force you to use the left hemisphere over the right. To focus on stuff like page count and word count. That’s not how you create. That’s not how you fly.

But, as I work my way through a 127,000 word draft that’s going to take some heavy editing, it’s the below scene from Season One of THE WIRE that best sums up the editing process. Time consuming. Painful. And no small amount of profanity:

So I’m off to the races. I may check in at the end of the month with some year-end wrap up. But for now, Happy December.