At the moment, my answer is “All of it.”
Let me clarify that I just finished the read-through of my first draft of To Lure a Lord, which I’m planning to publish at the end of the summer. During this process, I realized my hero and his best friend have confusingly similar names, I have the same scene in at least two places, and there are several places where I need to write connecting tissue between scenese (the joys of writing out of order).
The real fun was finding the holes. In at least one case, I’m not talking a plot hole. Oh, no. This is a plot sinkhole ready to eat SUVs in a single gulp.
So, what do you do when you look at your lovingly crafted draft and realize it’s a hot mess? First, resist the urge to dive in immediately and change All The Things. That will result in an even bigger hot mess. I make notes on notecards, which are put in the revision notebook at the appropriate spot. (I use a disc bound system to make this easier.) No matter what wild idea I have I think will fix things, I write it down. I then put the book down and do other things, such as playing in one of the Photoshop tutorials I have to hand. And I let the mind work. Thoughts may pop up from time to time, as they do when one is compositing a dragon into a background. Those also go onto notecards, inserted at the approrpiate place.
Today, I’m picking the book up again, flipping through and seeing if any of the connecting tissue has coalesced enough for me to draft. Then, I turn to the major scenes, find my notes, and start on The Plan. This is where I do what bears a passing resemblance to an outline, because I’m formalizing scene purpose and what things need to be fixed. Get my structure down, then do another pass for tone, word choice, etc. Oh, and fix the confusingly similar name problem. Lord Blair MacDonald gets to keep his name because we met him in The Accidental Viscountess. Which means Benedict, the Earl of Chalton, has to find a new name in addition to convince Blair he’s a fool for not admitting he loves Augusta Eastleigh.
So I suppose my answer is revisions, and it’s a different beast every time, depending on what holes appear. I’ll spend the next month or so crunching on those, then it’s off to my copy editor before publication.
Pop on over to Leslie Hatchel next, and see what she finds most difficult about creating the stories she tells. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy.