For those who haven’t read Homer’s epic in a while, the Odyssey depicts Odysseus’ ten year journey to return to Ithaca after the end of the Trojan War. About everything that can go wrong does go wrong on his voyage, including shipwrecks, run-ins with Cyclopes and Sirens, enslavements by a sorceress and a jealous nymph, and a really bad decision involving a bag of winds. So, using the Odyssey as an analogy, here’s the tale of my own journey.
The First Draft – This was my siege of Troy. It took forever and had its ups and downs, but ultimately ended in triumph. I had finished the first draft of my first novel! I celebrated with a bottle of Chateau de Beaucastle. Life was good. All I needed to do was finish another draft or two and I’d be home free, right? Yep, bet that’s what Odysseus thought too.
|First Draft Triumph!|
|Defeating the Cyclops Seemed a Breeze!|
|Curse that Bag of Wind!|
The Fourth Draft – Here’s where I had to trim it down. Big time. It was excruciating. I ended up rewriting the first 100 pages from scratch to front-load some conflict and introduce my antagonist earlier. And I had to make some painful cuts. I had reached the straights of Scylla and Charybdis, and whichever path I chose, a whole lot of story was going to die. Though scathed, I came through it after killing a whole lot of my darlings. The novel was 22,000 words shorter, and it was tighter.
|Scylla or Charybdis?|
|Tie Yourself to the Mast and Press On!|
|Ithaca Looks Close!|