Why don’t you take a look at the image above? I’ll wait. It’s not a photo of my desk, I promise—I assure you that as I rummage through pages, cross-referencing for continuity, while destroying my first draft with my trusty red pen, I am far messier than whichever amateur owns that one.
By my count, it has been 33 days since my last update about the progress of Till Death Do Us Party. “Was has no conviction,” I hear you cry, “What is he doing with all that time?” Well, aside from reading and reviewing five books (stay tuned for number five; the review hits in the next two days) and writing a short story (click here to read it when you’re done with this), I’ve also been editing, giving my red pen the workout it has been craving.
Can you look forward to more regular updates? I’d love to say yes, but the answer is probably not. I’ll post updates sporadically when it feels right to do so, rather than commit to giving boring updates for the sake of updating.
As I write this, I have put the pen/master of my misery down, after having scribbled through Chapter 8 (with the current chapter title “The Mother of Demons”—intriguing!), and have decided that a reflection on the first five chapters is not overdue; it’s simply better late than never. These chapters build toward Till Death Do Us Party’s first big twist, and made for a great jumping off point.
If you recall my previous post (if you do, we both know it’s because you clicked the link I handily provided above), I had just completed my initial pass of edits of draft one. Rather than looking at the minutiae of the manuscript, I undertook this first pass to make sure it’s readable (spoiler alert: it is!) and to see what structural changes need to be made. That is long behind me, now attacking the pages with swathes of red, slicing out sentences, adding words, and highlighting changes that need to be made.
However, having an attention span of about the length of a neatly trimmed pubic hair, as soon as I made it through Chapter 5 (current title, “Impurity and Impunity”—also intriguing!), I had to save my eyes from staring at a pile of paper, and replace it with the blue light from my monitor instead.
And so, draft two—the first five chapters of it, at least—was born! As is often the way with second children, its birth weight is bigger than its elder sibling, coming in at 81 pages, compared to 67 — an increase of about 21 per cent.
So, what’s new?
- The protagonists are about a decade younger than the first draft. This was a decision I’d made while writing the first draft, but would not go back and edit, lest I get caught in a never-ending cycle of edits, ensuring the draft never gets completed. Either I made this decision because younger, sexier protagonists sell more books; or because it allows for an improved plot twist later in the story. I’ll let you pick the reason you prefer.
- I changed a lot of the prose. As you can probably imagine, I added a lot of words to fill the extra 21 pages, however there was a lot of re-writing to add depth to the world and characters, particularly as I introduce them.
- I also changed a fair amount of dialogue, trying to make it snappier, to the point, and clear. Simple remarks from characters are now shorter than this entire article.
The big change, however, which deserves more than its own bullet point, is Chapter 5. The vast majority of words, prose and dialogue alike, have changed. Much of the chapter’s framing remains much the same, but that’s about it. While the chapter still covers similar territory, I have changed the scenes to make them more entertaining, funnier, more appalling, more palatable, and I hope, simply better.
Chapter 5 aims to pull the rug not just out from under the characters, but also, I hope, the reader, and is one that I find vitally important as it brings the novel’s themes to the fore. Yes, I want you to laugh, but I also want you to cry. Hell, I’ll take your trembles of rage: just give me all your emotions!
And on that note, consider the update done, and please bear with me while I push my mailing list on you. If you enjoyed this update (even if you didn’t, subscriber numbers matter to me, damn it), why not join my mailing list? Not only will you receive updates about this little website (in a newsletter, rather than spam every time I post), including links to these little updates, my reviews, short stories and whatever I feel like filling the internet with, it will be the first place to see snippets from Till Death Do Us Party as it continues to take shape.