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First draft DONE

December 27, 2013
Image credit: Sehsuan at en.wikipedia

Image credit: Sehsuan at en.wikipedia

Yesterday, after one last marathon of a writing session, I finished the first draft of my WIP.  This is a story I’ve been trying to write in some form or other for a good three years, so it’s safe to say that this has been a long time in coming. Planning for the present novel started around a year ago, though the actual writing only begun in July.

Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty chuffed with myself right now. In fact, there’s no “pretty” about it. I spent much of last night sitting in a kind of self-satisfied haze, wherein I was a complete and utter genius simply for having gotten this far. I imagined the 100%  pure awesomeness that was sure to be the final product, all the while lounging in my computer chair and listening to a choice selection of videogame credits soundtracks (no, really). Life was fantastic, and could only get better still. I was done.

At some point, however, I’m going to have face up to my actual situation.

What I have on my hands is a first draft. First drafts tend to be utterly dire; mine is no exception. It is a mess of sketchy worldbuilding, sloppy writing and ropy pacing. Furthermore, enough details change midway through to leave anyone but myself hopelessly confused with the story’s goings on. I clearly, then, have a lot of work ahead of me before I can truly call this project finished.

Even more clearly, I need a plan of action.

Firstly, I’m going to take a short break form writing altogether. This could last for anything from a couple days to several weeks. Next, I’m going to give myself some time to work on other, smaller writing projects. I’ll let myself do a bit of planning and research for the novel’s next draft, but I won’t actually let myself write that draft. For that matter, I’m not even going to let myself read my first draft for the first little well. My goal here is to distance myself from my work: if I stay too attached to words I already have on the page, then I won’t thorough enough about editing or rewriting.

The focus of my next draft will be on finalizing my plot and getting my story into a coherent format; this is something I hope will not be necessary in future projects, based on what I’ve learned from working on this one. This will also be the draft in which I finalize the exact rules and aesthetic of the novel’s setting. Afterwards, later drafts will be more focused on the writing itself: characterizations, descriptions, dialogue, and so on.

It’s going to be a wild and wooly ride, in all likelihood, but I just know I’ll see this through to the end. I’ve come too far not to, at this point.

Oh, and finally:

Got any “first draft” experiences to share? Started any redrafts or new projects lately? Feel free to share down below!




From → Blogging, Writing

  1. Hey that’s terrific! Congratulations. I think you are doing a great thing by separating yourself from the work. Different people call for different amounts of time. Stephen King says 6 weeks, so that’s what I use. (Though for me the separation is after draft 2, since my first draft is a skeleton.)

    • Thanks! I’m not quite sure how long I’ll leave it yet, but I’m thinking a month at the very minimum. I always thought Stephen King left it a lot longer than that, so thanks for the info 🙂

  2. captainwafflez permalink

    Yay! First drafts feel great! It’s like ‘at last’.. and then ‘oh shit’ because you gotta think about editing..

    You got a sensible plan though. Distance from your first draft is essential if you want to come back to it with new eyes, so to speak.


    • Agreed. It felt great when I finished (and it still does), but I just know I’ll be cringing when I start reading through it.

  3. Congratulations.

  4. Congratulations! You’re actually managing to make me feel guilty about not writing the past four weeks. Really time to get back to my first draft as well and get it done.

    If you’re interested, the NaNoWriMo website is doing articles and forums on how to go about the editing process during January and February. You don’t need to have participated in November to benefit. You just need to sign up to the website and you’ll have access to all that.

    • Thanks! Though, to be fair, I wrote around 88k in five months whereas your wrote over 50k in one; I really don’t think you have anything to feel guilty about here.

      I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for those; they sound like just the thing I need. Thank you very much for telling me about them 😀

  5. Congratulations! You are now one step closer to being on the NY Times Bestsellers List. 🙂

    I reckon you should leave the draft for a good month. That’s my method when it come to revising and self-editing.

    • Hehe. Oh, how I wish…

      I’m thinking somewhere between 1-2 months at the moment. Anything less than that seems too soon.

      Thanks for stopping over, as always.

  6. Wonderful! Great news! You are absolutely, without qualification, a complete and utter genius for getting this far. Finishing the first draft of a novel is a high every time, but the first time you do it is magic you’ll never forget.
    My own memory is of riding a double-decker bus through sunshine north over Battersea Bridge on my way who-knows-where, grinning as I inwardly chanted, ‘I’m a novelist! I’m a novelist!’ It sounds like your first one is way better than mine, which languishes on my hard disk 18 years later nagging me to hit the delete button.
    Taking a break is exactly right. I’ve found it not only makes me less wedded to my own words, but also what’s needed is so much more obvious to fresh eyes. I’m re-reading the third one I set aside nearly a year ago. I’d polished it endlessly and thought it was done. This time through would just be a touch here, a touch there before the publisher’s final-draft deadline. So I thought, ha ha. But fresh eyes are showing me dozens of little snags and dropped stitches that are simple enough to smooth over.
    Enjoy the break. Treat and pamper yourself. Some of the most blissful times in my writing life have been the lulls after reaching a goal and before tackling a new one.

    • P.S. Meanwhile the first draft of the fourth one (which needs tons of work) is out of my mind 🙂

    • It certainly does feel spectacular, I must say :). This one isn’t quite my first, actually, though it feels like it is. My last attempt at a novel was very short (about 50k, if I remember right) and was so bad that I’d already given up on it by the time I reached the end. I’m not quite sure why I bothered finishing it, really. It’s still on my laptop, but I know I’ll never read it.

      And I am indeed enjoying my break. It occured to me recently that I’ve been doing writing and/or physics pretty much every day since I got back, so I’m now doing nothing at all for a few days. Feels grand, it does.

      Sounds like things are going smoothly over on your end, which is great to hear. I see over on FB that you’re moving back to book 4 now, so best of luck with that 😀

  7. Congrats sir! Must be an amazing feeling. As per other comments I whole heartily agree with the approach of distancing yourself for a while.

    Oh, and I love your celebrations. Myself it will be a mix of Doctor Who, Gladiator and Man of Steel soundtracks. In fact I think I’ll go mix the playlist right now…

    • Thanks! Still feels good, I must say.

      Never seen Gladiator or Man of Steel, but I agree that the Doctor Who soundtrack would work great for something like this. Hope you enjoy 😀

      • Never seen Gladiator!!! You have lived a sheltered life 😉

        How you getting in with Lives of Tao?

      • Definitely 😛

        Lives isn’t going particularly great, to be honest. It seemed to be taking a long time to get through, so I decided to move onto The Stone Kingdom to make sure I wasn’t rushing with the ARC.

        I’ll probably go back to Lives at some point in January. I like the concepts in it, but Roen was just so annoying. Does he get better over time? I was around 40% in when I stopped.

      • The last 30% or so picks up. Must admit I didn’t find Roen as likeable as some others. I also didn’t find it as funny as others did, which is why I think more people gelled with it from the beginning. Really got going in the second half though and I think that’s why I enjoyed it as much as I did.

        Can’t be any worse than Dan Browns inferno, which for some in fathomable reason I’m plodding through at the moment!!

  8. Congratulations on completing such a gigantic achievement! I’m sure your back is red enough already, but give it another pat from me 🙂 . Good luck with the second draft!

    • Thanks a lot! I’m sure one more pat won’t hurt. And I think I’ll need that luck: there’s alot I need to do for that draft.

  9. Congrats on completing the first draft! That’s a huge achievement! Letting it settle for a while before you go back and revise is always a good idea; it helps to give you perspective when you come back to it.

    • Thank you :). And I’m glad you agree. I’ve read a lot of advice to this effect before, so I thought it would be silly not to listen to it.

  10. That’s awesome! Cheers!

    And I hope you have better luck with the editing process than I have had so far—which is, in fact, almost none. I think I’m too impatient.

    Also, happy New Year…. I can say that now, even if that isn’t for another, oh, fourteen hours or so, right? Hehe. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m hoping to start editing early next month, though I’ve already started a little bit of research and planning. it’s kinda daunting, really, particularly because a lot of my “editing” is going consist of flat-out rewriting for the first little while.

      What draft are you on, out of interest? Is it a 2nd draft or something later on?

      Also, happy new year to you too. I know I’m a week late, but hey 😀

      • Oh yes… cutting and rewriting. It’s so exciting and scary at the same time.

        Well…. it’s kind of complicated. I have a problem with rewriting when I should edit instead, which means I usually create more problems then I fix, so technically, I’ve gone through so many drafts I can’t count them. But I suppose, as far as along as I am in the process, I think it’d be about the equivalent of second or third draft?

        Hehe, that’s okay. It’s still a new year! 😀

      • To be honest, my next couple of drafts are probably going to be a similar story: there’s just too much to fix right now for editing alone to suffice.

        Out of interest, do you have any kind of outline to work with at the moment?

      • True, true…

        Not yet, but considering how many plot holes and things I’ve had to face with discovery writing, I’m fairly certain I am going to write one in the near future.

  11. That’s fantastic! Congratulations. 🙂 It may be overwhelming to think about the next steps right now. But for now, pat yourself on the back for finishing a first draft.

    When you’re ready to work on the second draft, do you think you’ll chronicle your journey through the revision process here?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. And the second draft starts…now | The parasite guy
  2. A surge of progess! Or not | The parasite guy

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