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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Second Draft Progress

Scrivener tells me that I've made my way through 50 paperback pages of the second full draft of "The Unravelling"; the first draft clocked in at 264 pages, so that gives us 18.9%.


It feels funny calling it a "second draft" when the "first draft" took many years and required many massive revisions, including, you may recall, at one point throwing out 40% of the words I'd written. But this is the first revision after the one where the book actually managed to stumble its way to an ending, so I guess that makes it a second draft.

I solicited a first batch of critiquers for the end of February; at this point it looks a bit unlikely that I'll make that deadline, though it's hardly linear work; some parts I sail through, other times I get stuck for days on one page. I already did one readthrough and markup, of a physical printout of the first draft; now I'm gradually entering the chapters into Scrivener on my MacBook Air, and revising them as I go. It's less line-level at this point (though I can't help fiddling), than addressing a series of structural and continuity problems, some micro-level (I have to come up with consistent language for "this person has two bodies, total" versus "two of this person's bodies were present" -- I'm calling the first "two-bodied" and the second "doublebodied", I think; readers may not parse this consciously but hopefully it will feel right) some larger. A lot of the problems are about the pacing -- both how fast events transpire, and how and when what information is fed to the reader.

I don't want the deadline to slip too much, because it would be very nice if some of my critiquers had read it by Wiscon so I could talk about it with them face-to-face... and I have the vague ambition of maybe talking to agents and such this summer... which idea seems like a palm-tree'd island glimpsed from the crest of the occasional wave before I am borne down again into the deep blue, clinging to the broken spar of routine...

Posted by benrosen at February 8, 2012 01:16 PM | Up to blog

Wait - how did you get Scrivener to tell you about the status of your draft? Is there somewhere one can set to track a second pass-through? While as a techie I normally exhaust the possibilities of software, for some reason the writing brain is different and I rarely explore Scrivener beyond what I use.

I like reading these sorts of stats like they were candy, as if there were some sort of magic there, though I never manage to post them myself. A Summer agent plan sounds fun - I look forward to seeing the book. I'm in the agent process now, though the destination of the book is no longer a surprise.

Posted by: Ben Parzybok at February 8, 2012 06:04 PM

Hey Ben -- disappointingly, I'm kind of cheating; this is the first draft I'm doing in Scrivener, so it's just the regular Project Statistics manuscript length. It would be great if you could get statistics filtered by status, etc. I wish there was an API! Why, Scrivener, why no API!??

You could of course kludge it by creating a root folder for each draft, dragging structures into it as you revise them, and selecting the draft root folder when doing Project Statistics and using the selection word count...

Posted by: Benjamin Rosenbaum at February 8, 2012 06:32 PM
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