I've been attempting to write the third instalment in the Beginner's Guide series for a long time. I'd written five whole drafts previously, but I was never happy with them and I'd stopped working on the book while I concentrated on writing other books. And then, a few weeks ago, I was inspired to give it another go.
I'd been working on the paperback of the first in the series, A Beginner's Guide To Salad, and revisiting the characters made me want to get that third book right and continue with Ruth's story. So I started thinking about her and her friends and trying to work out why I wasn't happy with all those drafts and I realised it was because it felt forced. I was shoehorning stories in to fit the theme, changing the POV when it didn't and shoehorning those characters in to fit it instead. And it just wasn't working. But what if I changed the theme? Tweaked it a bit?
I went back to the very beginning and replotted the book with the new theme in mind. And it worked! It no longer felt forced. It felt natural, as though this is where the characters were supposed to be. And so I started Draft Six.
I've loved catching up with Ruth and her friends and finding out where they are now and what they're up to, and I'm so pleased with the draft I've just finished. Draft Six is The One. It isn't publishable - far from it - but it is the draft I'll be working on from now on. I won't be ditching it and starting again. This is it and I can't describe how relieved I am to finally have a draft I'm happy with after all this time.
I'll be diving straight back in to edit the book next week as I don't want to lose the momentum I've built up. I don't want to lose it and end up blogging about Draft Nineteen a few more years down the line...