In April 2020 I thought I had completed a decent first draft of War Sonnets… until I attended a seminar and realized my “draft one” should more appropriately be referred to as “draft zero.”
Yes, it had a beginning, a middle, and an end. But the character and story arcs were badly lacking. It wasn’t until near the end of completing draft one/zero that I finally began to understand the process of writing scenes and realized that everything I’d written before was crap.
So I started over.
Not from scratch, exactly. But boy did I trash a lot of chapters that were pretty much pointless. If I had to guess, I’d say I probably cut about 25,000 words (about 100 pages) and added at least that many more. By early April of this year and feeling a lot more confident, I finished a real first draft.
Next step: send to a first round of beta readers.
I chose seven: two who would be sensitivity readers for my Japanese characters, two who would read specifically for accuracy and authenticity of the military portions, and three to check that I fully completed all of the story elements. And of course I hoped they would all tell me they liked what they read.
I got great feedback. Not as in great for my ego, great as in constructive feedback that would help me shape War Sonnets into a credible, better story.
For the past six weeks or so, I’ve added, deleted, rewritten War Sonnets once again. In early July I will send it to my editor extraordinare, Jeni Chappelle, for critique. After that, more edits based on her feedback and then a second round of beta readers.
In the end, I hope to start querying agents by the end of this year. I’m feeling hopeful—dare I say confident?—that I’ll find one who likes it enough to take me on.