Ask any writer you like- your first draft is never going to be the one that gets published. I like to think of my drafts as being like practice runs. Each time I write a full version of my book, I learn things. Sometimes these things are about the craft of writing, other times they are about my characters, and sometimes (if I do my research) I learn things about the historical context of my book.
But between the last draft and the one I began today, I embarked on a learning exercise of a different kind. I took the plunge, bit the bullet etc, and engaged the services of a professional editor to help me make my book the best possible book it can be. I've learned a lot. For example, I use the word GOTTEN a lot. Did you know that GOTTEN is not only a stupid word, it's an Americanism? Don't use GOTTEN when GOT will do. I've also learned that sometimes I need to pare back on the metaphors. My writing can be pretty descriptive apparently, so I don't need so many similes. Most of all, I've learned one of my characters has a penchant for melodrama. She's been sent to the naughty corner to calm down now, so hopefully there will be less gnashing and wailing in draft eight.
If you're reading this, oh great editor lady, I am really, really grateful.
I'm also really grateful to everyone who encouraged me to take this step. It was expensive, but it was an investment in myself. Plus, you don't win awards with books full of grammatical errors!
Anyway, I have added a progress meter to the sidebar of this blog, so if you want to know how I am going with the novel, just check there. I'll post significant updates if there are any!