Aaaaak! Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. That's the process of writing. It's a long, slow spiral to the heart of the final draft and boy, it is painful at times. Right now I'm going through another draft -- umpteenth -- of THAT BOY RED my upcoming children's novel for ages 8 and up, due to be released by HarperCollins Canada in April 2011.
It's been a joy, mostly, discovering/uncovering Red's world and the people in it. I've enjoyed reading it as I re-worked it, enjoyed being in his world, which is rural PEI during the Depression. I've enjoyed researching, fine tuning, expanding on characters, inserting the kinds of details that make the story seem to grow and continue beyond the pages of the book.
All requiring focus but for the most part thoroughly satisfying.
Oh, now, I'm doing what is absolutely essential -- I'm reading it out loud.
I can't believe how the flow stumbles and fumbles in places. This is the stage where I feel frustrated, embarrassed and convinced I'm a crappy, crappy writer. Surely if I could write better I wouldn't find so many places where the language stalls, where the music of the sentences jar and clash instead of flow. Where the cadence flops and drags instead of swooping with ease.
It is completely necessary, this stage, to fine tune any piece of writing, because the ear picks up what the eye doesn't.
It is time consuming.
And completely necessary.