First draft completed – now what?

art studio

I completed my first draft – so now what?
I should be celebrating, right?
Sure – maybe – but only for a minute – but the real work is just beginning.

Next steps – a quick read-through, taking lots and lots of detailed notes. What’s not working? How’s the pacing? Is the timing off? How about detail?
In other words – is this a story or just a bunch of gobbledygook?!?!?

Notes only – NO EDITS.

And then – set it aside – let it sit – which seems a teensy bit anticlimactic, right?
I’m supposed to just stop?

Yep. Let. It. Sit.

So – what now?

No worries – there is lots to do.

pile of writing books

Research and fine tuning:

In order to keep the flow of writing going, questions that arise while writing are noted and set aside. Time to find all the answers. Would the local police department do that? Who has jurisdiction anyway? What time does the sun set? How long would it take for someone to bleed out from a cut to the head? How can a person rise from sitting if their feet and hands are bound? Would they be able to hop?

And then, the characters. Would he or she actually say that? do that? What are their mannerisms, figures of speech?


Lots and lots of reading. Tough duty, I know…
I was beyond excited to stumble upon this book which pretty much takes place in my back yard. Vermont is a popular setting – beautiful, wild, and unique in so many ways. But more often than not, I find that authors don’t quite get it right. This author nails it, and I’m loving the story. Win-win. (Yeah… I might be taking notes…)


It’s time to start plotting Book #2

Which feels a little bit like getting ahead of myself. I mean, I haven’t published the first one, so what the heck? But yes, now is a great time to get started on the next-in-series. Knowing what is coming up next will help me revise that pesky manuscript that’s just lying around. I’m looking forward to cooking up some more mayhem!

Conferences, classes, and critique groups

Which leaves me wondering – why did I ever think that writing a book meant sitting down and – you know – writing? Yeah, about that…
Which all leads me to…

Finding time for downtime

Sometimes a break should just be a break – you know? – Getting messy with some art journaling…

art studio

– and getting outdoors!

kayaking on a foggy lake

And – can you believe August is coming to an end – already!?!?!?!

I hope your summer has been going well. Are you still hanging onto summer like I am, or ready to jump into fall?



9 responses to “First draft completed – now what?”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    I am desperately ready for fall. I saw a little red maple leaf on the bike path on Saturday morning and the joy I felt was deep within me.
    Such a lot of research and detail work. Perfect things to do going into the fall and winter months. But, yes, get outside while you can and enjoy every moment of this beautiful nature.

    1. Karen Avatar

      I don’t know what it is. Fall was always my favorite season, but I seem to be hanging onto summer. Seriously doesn’t make sense – this year of all years! (?)

  2. Debbie Avatar

    oh your back, and you are writing/have written a book, what planet am i on??

    i am sooooo ready for fall. truth be told, i am ready for 2021. 2020 has been a really difficult year, and i just want it to be over, now!! i have enjoyed the quiet of home, the pool has been so fun but everything else, well everything else has been hard. so put up the christmas tree, take it down…sleep through the ball drop and bring on 2021. i’m ready!!

    1. Karen Avatar

      Debbie – so good to hear from you! I totally get it – we need to get past 2020 somehow!!!

  3. Barb Avatar

    Hi Karen, Thanks for the book recommendation – I got the sample on Kindle. I think letting your draft “stew” for awhile is a great idea. I like your diligence! Our summer here in the mountains of CO is dwindling fast. I know you’ll soon be in leaf peeper season. Enjoy the weather before the snow falls again. That’s what I’m doing.

    1. Karen Avatar

      Barb – I think you’ll like the book. It literally takes place right here – many mentions of Stratton and a town that I think is a fictional version of Manchester.

  4. Lynne Avatar

    Can I reach out and touch you . . .
    Your first manuscript . . . wow . . . a book . . . wow!
    Exciting . . .
    (Thanks for the book recommendation too!)

    I am so ready to be talking about something other than
    Covid, elections, zoom, masks, social distancing, reconstructing schools, classes, learning . . .
    to name a few . . .

  5. beatrice p boyd Avatar

    What wonderful news to read, Karen, that you have finished the first draft of your book and thanks for sharing the news! I am an avid reader and enjoy writing, but the thought of trying to complete a manuscript is beyond me, at least now. I have bookmarked the book you mentioned as our local library has a copy (yeah) but in the middle of finished a couple others (you know how that goes). I am so ready for fall now, spring and summer are gone and the fall colors are sure to bring joy and maybe less leaf peppers in the area too (one can hope). Yes, down time is a wonderful idea!

  6. Carola Bartz Avatar

    Writing a book is a ton of work and you prove it.. I do think that letting things sit for a while is a good decision – I often do that when I design my lessons for my German classes. I have tons of ideas, but then I suddenly get stuck, so I let it sit and after a short while things sort out almost by themselves. I don’t really know what it is, but it always works.
    I love fall, it’s my favorite season, and I look forward to it very much. Here fall doesn’t really arrive before October; September can be the hottest month of th year and right now we’re having another heat wave with triple digit temperatures. Add to that the fires and the smoke from them you can understand that it is no exactly fun. And still – I love it here. Is that weird?

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