I've mentioned before that my current work-in-progress centers (loosely) on the concept of time travel. The main characters are given the chance of a lifetime: to go back in time and undo the crime that changed their lives.
I think I know how my characters feel. The process of writing this story makes me feel like I'm doing a bit of time-travelling myself!
When I first started writing this story (back in 2011...) it was one book. When I went back and tried my hand at writing it again, I realized that it should really be three books: a trilogy that explored three distinct time periods in my characters' lives. Despite my better judgment, I blasted through drafting all three books this year. I needed to really go through a rough draft of each book in order to get a sense of how the characters thought and felt about each twist and turn.
So that's what I did in 2016. I just wrote. No stopping to re-read, edit, or tinker with character development. Now that I've reached the end of Book 3, there's only one thing to do: go back and start re-reading Book 1.
Let me tell you, it’s rough. There are abandoned characters dangling over plot holes, loose threads flapping in the breeze, and a veritable highway of run-on sentences. It’s a mess out there. I'm plowing through it slowly but steadily, correcting and rewriting as I go.
This is the messy part of writing, but it's a hopeful kind of mess. With the end in sight, I have a pretty good idea of how the characters talk and act at each point in the story. I’m hoping (but not holding my breath) that I’ll reach my goal of publishing the trilogy in 2017.
I just have to keep working through it...as many times as it takes.