Well, I finally started writing – rewriting mostly. I just couldn’t get the first few paragraphs standing still. When they finally fell into the “acceptable” category, I moved on. 300, 400, 500 words – four hours later, a page. It’s not bad, not great either. As I add, I circle back and revise. It’s a virtuous (our vicious) circle.
Day 1: Write, rewrite, rewrite.
Day 2: Long day at work, too tired to write.
Day 3: Rewrite, write, write, rewrite.
All those rewrites are why the first half is always better than the second. Most the imperfections have been polished away. Most, but not all. Never all.
So, it begins:
Life was predictable in Clifton, Iowa. At least it was until Sen. Thomas Sauk and the veterans center employees died. Were killed, actually. The deaths had thrown off the town’s rhythm, and things have been off-kilter ever since.
That’s how it starts – for now. I made three changes after I copied and pasted it in this post. Before I finish the book, those first three sentences will change again. Maybe slightly. Maybe I’ll throw them out and start again.
Each word must count; feedback is critical. Publishers usually ask authors to make changes in their works before they’re published. Sometimes they want complete rewrites. And the writers I’ve talked with think that their books are the better for it.
So, I will write and rewrite, get feedback and write and rewrite some more. Let’s see, if I write about 500 words a day, give or take (mostly take, given the way things are going). About 120,000 words altogether. Holidays and weekends off, or the equivalent thereof to give me wiggle room. I should be wrapping up my book about this time next year.
Then the real work begins.