It’s not really imposter syndrome if you suck, right?
That’s a question I’ve asked myself quite a bit over the last five weeks. If you’ve been following with my work on Till Death Do Us Party, I’ve been spending my time on draft three, with the last five weeks dedicated to edits and rewrites after covering it in red.
The draft is now complete at 131,009 words. The five weeks were far less time than I expected to make the changes I scribbled in red. I’m happy with the pace I worked at, even if I spent much of it shaking my head at what I previously wrote, rewrote and rewrote again.
I’ve come away reasonably happy with the result. Until I read it again, I’m sure.
That day will come, and I dread it. And until that day comes, I will give it space, let it gather dust and try not to think about the things I could change. I need something for draft four, that is.
But as much as I have chastised myself over the work I’ve done, at it currently stands, I like how it’s coming together. It tells the story I set out to tell. A comedy set in the bowels of Hell, about a couple wanting to escape their fates. A story with plenty of F-bombs. I removed plenty of them, but not to worry, I added a few more. You wouldn’t want to read anything too highbrow, right?
One success in this draft is shortening the word count, which was part of my plan. I won’t pat myself on the back too hard, though, as it stands, this draft is an entire 369 words shorter than the last one. While I had hoped to reduce it further by cutting chunks out, I added almost as much as I cut. Maybe a little bit more, because I cleaned up the writing, simplifying parts and removing excess words.
But there were areas I needed to elaborate. Certain things that weren’t made clear, and transitions that previously didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I added a few scenes, and as the book enters its climax, I twisted the knife that little bit further.
I mean, it’s a story set in Hell. The idea is to torture your characters, right?
And I also want to torture my dear readers. Yes, it’s a comedy, but one that I hope packs a punch.
With the additions I’ve made, I’m comfortable with its length. I’d have liked to have shaved another ten thousand words or so, and through some judicious editing of future drafts, I can probably make a few extra words disappear.
As long as I don’t decide to add even more to it, that is. And that’s something I can’t promise.
But having come away from my editing and giving it, say, fifteen minutes to percolate before sitting down to write this update (what can I say? I finished way ahead of schedule and had a gap in the schedule for this little site, so why not fill it?), I’m pretty comfortable with what’s in the draft.
I think—and I hope—I won’t be adding anything major, and if I need to add anything, it will be small, to help the flow.
But I can’t promise that either. Part of me expects to read this and decide it needs some wholesale changes. Maybe more chapters. Again. The number of chapters increases with each draft, but this time, it was only a case of splitting some. Not because they’re unwieldy, which makes a pleasant change, but because the existing work read a bit better with those breaking points.
Next up is summoning the courage to pass it onto some trusted people to read it and give me their thoughts. Thoughts like whether it’s on the right track, or whether it needs those wholesale changes, or, as my internal monologue keeps screaming at me, that I should scrap the entire thing.
So I’ll await the commentary. In the meantime, I’ll work on some world building for some projects, and I have another short story I want to write. And when I can bring myself to dive back into a manuscript, I have the rough draft I wrote during NaNoWriMo to add some polish to.
And finally, I’ll get to work on the next draft, and let that imposter syndrome come running back into my head. Unless I really do suck.