The idea that would grow to become The Young Volcanoes of Tenemere first came to me over Christmas of 2012. I was still working on another project at the time: a little sci-fi/fantasy called The Piccadilly Effect that I ended up abandoning. But I saved the best parts of it and transferred them over to my heart-project. I didn’t start properly writing TYVOT until November 2014. From conception until now, it has been just over five years. Two years of part-time planning, and just over three years of writing. And of course, further planning.It has been a long time. But this week, I finished draft eight. And you know what draft eight it? It’s the penultimate draft before I send off to my editor. No it’s not the exciting final draft, not even the one I’m sending to my editor, but it’s very special. Because it’s the first full draft that properly reflects the book it is going to end up becoming.
Draft eight hasn’t been a major draft, but it hasn’t been minor either. It was a middle draft if you will. Some chapters were perfect, only needed a few spelling corrections. Others I wrote entirely from scratch. But now, looking back, I see the shape now. This is no longer a skeleton manuscript. I have sculpted away for more than three years, and this story is completely fleshed out. It’s not final, but it is very, very close to it. Draft nine, if all goes to plan, will be the most minor of all my drafts. Honestly, it’ll be more like a proof. And I am so excited.
I’ve been editing for so long, I’ve often worried I’d never be able to stop. Like most writers I’m a complete poncy perfectionist, and sometimes I’ve sank so deep into revision hell it has felt easier to just swim down. I have feared this would never be done, that it would never be good enough, that the finished product would never see the light. But draft eight has finally given me hope. I can see it clearly now: it’s nearly finished. And I am so proud.
It’s hard sometimes to remember to celebrate our milestones. It can be especially hard when the people in our lives aren’t writer or readers, and don’t quite understand the work we put in (‘what exactly is a draft, Tess?’)
But today I’m celebrating and I want you to, too. Whatever draft you’re on, whether you’re near the end or you’re deep into the quicksand of revision, take my virtual high-five of congrats. You have worked so hard, and I encourage you to continue. Just take a little dance break first and remind yourself how great you are.
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