2. Writing Through
Every novel creates its own unique pitfalls. I used to think that, with experience, I’d be able to get everything right first time and hardly need to revise. No such luck. I avoid many of the old pitfalls, I’m sure, but I still find new ones to drop into.
I nearly did it with Liberator, which wraps up the duology, following on from Wolrdshaker. I've never felt so confident about a first draft, ever. And my editors agreed (this was a case of all my editors getting back to me at the same time, Australian, American, British … and not long after, my French translator too(. But they still had suggestions for improvments--and after I'd had some time away from the novel, I had improvements I wanted to make myself.
One general principle I’ve learned is that the parts I shirk are the parts that come back to bite me. OK, I tell myself, there’s a weakness in motivation here, but I think I can just about patch it over … OK, I haven’t really developed the social side of Upper Decks life on the juggernaut, but the main focus on Col’s personal story should be enough to carry it off … No, not OK!
The issue I don’t deal with typically resurfaces further down the track. Sometimes it’ll bring the story to a grinding halt, sometimes it lies lurking until readers and editors point it out.
The case of Col and the juggernaut comes from Worldshaker again. My excuses to myself about the lack of social life didn’t wash with readers and editors. In the end, I had to go back and do the hard yards!
If you judge some part of your novel as good enough rather than good, that’s the part that’ll haunt you. You may as well face up to it now!
UPPER DECKS OF THE JUGGERNAUT, WORLDSHAKER