Unraveling Draft 3 Complete!

After nine long months of revisions, I have completed the third major draft of Unraveling. My goal was to fix 80% of the problems and create 5% new problems (unavoidable). I believe if you try for 100% you will never get started.

Draft 3 Major Changes

  1. Broke apart the protagonist’s massive flashback into six segments, evenly spaced throughout the novel. This keeps the reader focused on the present, and prevents the flashback from feeling like a novella withing a novel. It also provides more transitions and parallels to unify the subplots and themes.
  2. Stayed in the protagonist’s point of view in every scene where he appears. Removed many scenes of other characters’ point of view.
  3. Removed a lengthy courtroom subplot. It diverted from the plot, tone, and genre of the novel
  4. Reordered several plot points to improve story flow and evenly space sub plots. Merged scenes and removed some micro scenes for smoother reading.
  5. Shortened length and sharpened tone of the school subplot so it keeps the horror tone rather than feeling like a young adult coming of age story.
  6. Cut 6000+ words total length!

Draft 4 Plans

  1. Increase reader sympathy for all characters
  2. Reduce family dysfunction, improve character relations.
  3. Changing a main character’s profession.
  4. Smooth out the protagonists arc in places where it jumps or backtracks.
  5. Thread the subplots more closely to the central themes
  6. Improve voice by keeping simplifying language
  7. Reduce total length to under 100k. Make every word work for me!

A few beta readers have completed draft 3 with more on the way, so I will get more insight soon. Until next time.

The “Unraveling” Journey

I am currently working on the third major draft of my first novel, “Unraveling.” The original concept came to me in a dream when I was about ten years old. I wrote a summary of the idea in my giant crate of ideas to get to some day. Most of them faded but this one stuck with me.

At the age of 19, I wrote a short story titled “Dawn,” about a prodigious gymnast under the rule of a tyrannical mother. I wrote a few other short stories here and there, but this idea still stuck with me.

In my early twenties I decided to try to write a novel. The first draft took two years. Then something happened. It all took a back seat to other things. I started a web development company which took up my evenings. I began to hate the solitude of writing. It all seemed like too much effort for too little benefit. So I stopped.

Flash forward twelve years to January 2016, I was struck with the idea for a short story. So I wrote it, then five more. Then I reread my draft of Unraveling, deciding if it could be salvaged. I scrapped nearly all of it as I wrote my second draft over four months that summer.

After a three month break, I collected my thoughts and critiques, came up with a game plan and began a completely restructured third revision. I am currently halfway complete this draft, which I hope will solve 80% of the issues from draft 2. I’m amazed how much work it’s been, and how far it’s come and so excited to see how far it will go.

Until next time…