Hurrah! My first read-through and mark-up of FrostFire is finished! *Releases party streamers, jumps up and down, sprays champagne* I never have to go through that again! With this book, anyway.
Yes, it both sucked and blew. Simultaneously. Yes, I'm going to have to delete the first eight chapters and start again from scratch in order to make them readable by human beings. Yes, my favourite red pen ran out during this process. Yes. I have soooo much work to do. Yes, yes, yes, BUT now I know how to fix it all! Or at least I have a good idea.
I think the first read-through of a newly finished book is a bit like trying to get somewhere in a really, really thick fog. You've an idea where you need to go. But you actually don't know exactly what it looks like. Maybe you could figure it out if you could just see, but you're practically blind here. You keep falling into ditches and tripping over obstacles that you can't even name. You feel tired out and battered and you just want to go home. Why did you ever set out to go somewhere new in the first place? What if your goal doesn't even exist?
But as you walk, gradually, ever so gradually, the fog begins to lighten. You start to be able to point at the obstacles and say 'Rock' or 'Log'. You can make out the ditches and jump over them, and doing so gives you a flush of success. Your steps speed up. Finally, the sun breaks through and you see the thing you meant to find all along - the castle on the hill. You remember why you were so determined to find it. All the bruises and scrapes stop being important. YOU GOT THERE.
The actual process of revising - the cutting, pasting, deleting, the writing new scenes and the re-writing old ones - is more like finding your way back home from the castle. The fog's pretty much gone by now. However, you've used up a lot of strength on the journey out, and now that your initial jubilation over seeing the castle has faded those bruises are starting to ache again. You can see the obstacles instead of blindly blundering into them, but that doesn't mean you always know how to avoid them. Sometimes you misjudge and fall in a ditch anyway and have to climb out. And everything looks subtly different now that you're travelling in this different direction. Turns out you came a lot further than you realised. But there's no chance of you giving up this time. You know home is there and you're going to get to it, no matter what.
So, I start the journey home tomorrow. I'm nervous and eager. Wish me luck.
In other good news - I have skooled the eBay fraudster who tried to rip me off. Despite his blustering and insults and threats, Paypal upheld my claim and I got all my money back. As Nelson Muntz would say: ha ha! Now I can look forward to getting my lovely, free, advanced reader copy of Clockwork Angel from Walker Books without anything to impinge on my pleasure.