I’ve been working on one of my WIPs for years. Plural. When I started, I never thought it would take me so long. I wrote the first draft within the span of a few months. Then, I read back over it, and despite copious backstory notes and outlining and color-coded index cards, it was a scary, messy blob of words.
Then, I rewrote it. From the beginning. It was kind of scary and it turned out to be a totally different story. I revised it and coddled it and even gave it some time to breathe. When I read over it, it was still scary and still messy.
So, I rewrote it again. Not revised–rewrote.
And then I rewrote it YET AGAIN.
I’m basically on my fourth take-it-from-the-top style rewrite.
But you know what? I am so in love with the way that this current rewrite is going. I can already tell it’s better than anything I’d written before. All of those rewrites (and the numerous plot books I’ve read in the meantime) have given me insight into the best structure for this story, and even though I got frustrated every time I would read over a new draft that was supposed to be shiny and brilliant and wasn’t, I am happy to have written them.
So, I’m curious, how many drafts does it take you to get to the tootsie roll center of your WIP?