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Friday, 26 November 2010
Those of you who follow me on more 'immediate' media like Facebook and Twitter are probably aware that I came home from France to find my paper had been accepted for the Oxford conference, but with a much-reduced page count compared to the version I submitted. I've been chopping like a maniac, and I've only just finished... the deadline is imminent but I'd like to sleep on what I've got before I submit it.
Meanwhile, exciting things have been happening in the world of my novel, with great reviews rolling in on Amazon, and Kindle sales picking up even before I've started marketing, which is a really nice surprise.
I've learnt a lot in the process of these two things. You could hardly find two forms more disparate than the novel and the short academic paper, but the lessons are the same, and it's all about the edit.
The first draft is never good enough; the second draft is never as good as you think it is. You won't necessarily end up where you initially thought you would, but that's okay. You have to find people you trust to tell you your faults, and dare to give them a still-not-good-enough draft, and to listen when they tell you where the weak points are. And then find your own way to patch it up, which may involve starting from scratch (again). You know all this before you start, in theory, but you still have to learn how to do it... at least, that's how it's been with me.
If you've been part of the process for either piece of work, then I owe you endless thanks. Thank you. We'll be doing it all again before you know it.