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We’re Turnin’ Around & Headin’ Back, or When the Work-In-Progress Is a Bitch

I hit an exciting milestone in the novel a week or so ago. I got to the halfway point in the second draft. I knew the work was going to get harder because the character I excised really started doing stuff in the second half of the book.

The way I’ve been working on the second draft of this novel has been thusly: I take a chapter from the printed-out first draft and I go through it with my blue pen (Pilot Precise V5) editing, making notes, etc. When I’m done with the edits, I sit down at the computer, cut the chapter from the first draft file and paste it into the second draft file, and then go through the edits. At the end of the chapter, once I’ve gone through my notes and such, I go back to the top of the chapter and then read it aloud, making further changes as I go. Once I’m through, I go to the stack of chapters in the first draft and start on the next chapter.

Well, as I’m going through the current chapter with the pen, I realize something the makes my blood cold. The talismans I have given to two different characters are superfluous. They were something that helped me in the first draft but is really…well, bullshit. They must go.

Now I’ve got a decision to make. Do I wait until I’m working toward the third draft to get rid of these silly objects or do I go back and rewrite the half of the second draft that is completed so as I move forward on this draft, I can take care of it all? And if I remove these talismans, how do the characters resolve their issues. That part was easy: They resolve it on their own.

I went back-and-forth with this for a week, but a morning walk around the park decided it for me. Last night, I went back to chapter 1. This shouldn’t take long.

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