One of the useful things about writing short fiction is, it reminds me in a sort of snapshot form what my writing process is like.

I turned in a short story a few days ago–and looking back, it took me five drafts:

Draft 1: Write the wrong story. But sort of kind of get a feel for what the right story is about. (The exploratory draft.)
Draft 2: Write the right story. But with all the wrong words, muddled arcs, and not enough sensory vividness.
Draft 3: Get something approaching the right words. Only with lots of the wrong words still mixed in.
Draft 4: More right words. Not so many wrong words. Much tighter.
Draft 5: Polish until my teeth hurt.

Or something like that. This is pretty much a minimum, for me–that story went unusually smoothly. Any one of these draft stages can get repeated multiple times.

But it’s good for me to remember this. Because today I finished the second draft of Thief Eyes, and it really is a merry muddle.

But instead of despairing, I look at the above and think, no, draft two is right on target for what a draft two generally is, given my writing process.

And for about the millionth time, I take that leap of faith: There is a book here. I’ll get there yet.

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