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Let the revisions begin!

So, after ages since the last post I'm ready to say that The Last Iron Horse is officially deep into the first of the "concept" revisions. It's time to take the mess of a first draft and (hopefully) turn it into something better.

Notice I didn't say something good or great, but better?

There's still too much to do before we get into the grammatical edits - which takes each sentence (no, seriously!) and tweaks them by taking a word here and there to change the tone and feel of the book. 

While, yes, there is going to be some edits, the real meat of the revisions at this point deals with tying up plot holes, trying out different and alternate plots. It's all about tweaking the concept and not so much the finer details.

 Like sculpting the first draft is the rough cut. The main shape of the sculpture is evident but you still have no idea exactly where the nose is going on the face. You know there is a face, and arms (if it's supposed to have arms) and a body but the finer details of muscle, eyes, fingers and toes have not yet taken full shape.

It's in the revisions we hammer out details and they begin to show themselves. Did I miss something vital or change something vital that shouldn't change at all? In the case of The Last Iron Horse it's deadly critical as I'm adding to a series with one book already on shelves. If one of the main characters suddenly became intrinsically different, or out of character, with no explanation the reading experience would be jarring.

That's the funny thing about writing. The first draft, no matter how brilliant the writer thinks it is... or, rather, how great my biased family thinks it is... I will look at the finished first draft, read it and automatically want to burn it.

Or perhaps that's just me? (shrugs)

Anyway, no matter how much my really biased family loves the first draft it won't see the light of day. If it does comparing the two will be, excuse the overused cliche, like comparing night and day. 

Seriously - despite all the woes in the editing and revising of After Oil (I still do have the first draft) when I compare the two I sit there and what always comes out of my mouth is, "What was I on?" While it's still obviously the same work the specifics are wildly different. Why should the sequel be different? Or any other book?

And, in all honesty, that's the way we roll as writers and authors.

The Last Iron Horse still has at least two major revisions and rewrites. We will tug, tweak and pull things into shape. Like a sculptor we will take the rough cut and refine the idea of the final product into arms, legs and a body that actually looks like something before we even get into the actual editing.

The easy part is over...

... Now comes the hard work.

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