The Frozen King – 2nd draft

NotebookThe Frozen King is a novel I’ve been writing, on and off, for about eighteen months. I finished the first draft in the spring of 2012 and, thanks to my agent’s tireless work, it soon found its way to the desk of an editor who, after reading it, returned it with a whole host of observations, suggestions and criticisms … plus an offer to read a second draft if I was happy to do one. Was I happy? Yes, I was.

If starting a novel is about opening a door to an imaginary world, starting a second draft is about trying to remember where you left the key. The editorial input was all good sound theory, but somehow I couldn’t see a way to put into practice. After a number of false starts, I realised this was going to be less of a new draft and more of a complete rewrite. Once I’d accepted that, everything started to flow.

The second draft is around 10,000 longer than the first. That’s fine – in fact, it now feels just the right length. Normally I’d anticipate taking stuff out second time around – tightening things up and all that – but in this case the original draft was pretty spare (actually that was one of its problems). Adding a new viewpoint character (previously there was just the one) justified the expansion in part, but so did the suggestion I’d been given to ‘amp it up a bit’. More action? Higher stakes? My pleasure. Also I had the chance to tie up the various loose ends I hadn’t noticed on the first pass.

So now it’s done. Forgive me if I hold back from telling what the book’s about. If the manuscript manages to jump the next of the many hurdles lying between it and that distant goal of publication, I’ll start teasing you with some blurb, maybe an extract or two. If it dies before it gets there, I’ll invite you to the wake. Until then I’ll be doing what writers do best: keeping my fingers crossed.

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