Last month I finished my latest novel and set it aside for a while. It's a horror novel set in Civil War Missouri and since I'll be in Missouri in August and September, I figured I'd do the second draft there. I want to walk the woods where much of the action takes places to get a feel for the landscape that's difficult to capture from memory alone. I find it's best to leave a draft sitting for a while before coming back to it with fresh eyes.
Well, my flight from Madrid to London was delayed by four hours yesterday so I got back into editing it. I went through the four chapters I happened to have printed out, which are middle chapters in the novel. I didn't find too much to change--a few minor bits of rearranging, some changes of phraseology, and some typos. Now I'm thinking, was that enough? Surely there must be more I need to do on a first draft! Perhaps I haven't let it sit long enough. I'm up in London and Oxford for the next three weeks working on an entirely different project (a book proposal on early firearms) so I'll let it sit again until I get to Missouri. Unless, of course, the Tube gets delayed for four hours.