How My Writing’s Going These Days

Before I get to today’s topic, just a reminder that BookFunnel’s free ebook giveaway is still available till July 4th, which you can find HERE. My first two Casey Holland mysteries, The Opposite of Dark and Deadly Accusations are part of the roster of over 60 novels.

Now, as writers know, editing is a long-term process that can be frustrating, perplexing, satisfying, and rewarding. But it’s never fast, as least not for me. I’ve read countless blogs, how-to articles, and a few books on the process. The information is sometimes conflicting and doesn’t always work for me, but a huge part of the process is finding what does work.

When I’m editing my mysteries or fantasy novel, original ideas often evolve into something quite different than I originally imagined. Getting the words written is one thing, but telling a story that makes sense and doesn’t confuse readers or leave out crucial bits and nuances is challenging.

It comes down to, does the story work? The question often takes me three or four rewrites to answer. At that point I’m starting to really understand the story’s purpose, theme, and through lines. With this understanding, connections start to zing around my brain, often while away from the computer. This is the part where connections and clues come need to be inserted at specific points in the text.

So, even after four drafts, the focus isn’t on grammar, sentence structure, or spelling, and a final proofread still seems far away. I do make changes as I’m working on the bigger stuff. If it sounds arduous, it is sometimes, but I honestly enjoy the process of making each page more succinct and vivid for readers.

Last week I completed the sixth draft of my urban fantasy, which took about a year, averaging a couple of hours a day. As I’ve mentioned on previous blogs, afternoons are usually slotted for other writing tasks and projects. My goal was to pare the book down from 125,000 words. By the end of draft #6 it was 120,000 words, but I’d also added some key elements, thanks to insightful comments from my critique group. With the seventh draft, I’ll still be looking to shorten it, and hopefully, there’ll be more taking out than adding in.

I’ve been working on the seventh draft for about ten days now and it’s going faster than the previous drafts. Of course, I could be deluding myself. Still, I plan to make a major push over the coming weeks, given that I’ll soon become a part-time babysitter for my granddaughter. That’ll be a whole new challenge in itself, but a joyful one.

Author: debrapurdykong

I'm a British Columbia author who's been writing for over 30 years. My volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired me to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for my my Casey Holland transit security novels. I'm also a part-time facilitator in Creative Writing Workshops through Port Moody's Recreation program. Feel free to contact me at dpurdykong@gmail.com

12 thoughts on “How My Writing’s Going These Days”

  1. Great advice. “Does the story work?” Critical and not always obvious. I loved what you said about connections ‘zinging’ through the brain. If you aren’t a writer, that doesn’t make sense. If you are, you’ve experienced it.

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  2. So glad to learn the urban fantasy is getting closer to publication. Sparks of inspiration away from the computer occur to me too. I learned a good strategy from another writer when that happens — I immediately take out my phone and record the idea, otherwise it’s gone within no time.

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  3. I completely understand. I used to dislike the editing process but now I enjoy it. It is so satisfying to see the polished product at the end. I recall saying to my husband after the 12th revision of one of my earlier books, “It’s a good thing I like this story because I almost have it memorized.” You will have fun babysitting, a great time to create a bond with your granddaughter.

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  4. You are doing really well – seven drafts in one year.!! Based on your description of how this draft is going, I’d say you are close to the final product, content-wise. When you find that you mostly edit for length and issues, I think the story is complete. Nice to have a critique group. I like the writing phase and the editing/proofreading phase. The rewriting is probably my least favorite of the bunch. But, I’ve never written fiction before… Enjoy the final push!

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