I completed my first draft – so now what?
After focusing all my energy on getting that first draft written,
I should be celebrating, right?
Sure – maybe – but only for a minute. The reality is that 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? Where am I missing 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 mean – I’ve been writing like crazy and have this amazing momentum going – and now I’m supposed to just stop?
Yep. Let. It. Sit.
Which brings me back to my original question. What now?
Surprisingly, there is lots and lots to do. While the manuscript may be taking a break, I am not.
In order to keep the flow of writing going, questions that arise while writing are noted and set aside. Now it’s time to find all the answers. Would the local police department do that? Who has jurisdiction anyway? What time should the sun set? How long does it take someone to bleed out from a cut to the head? What does it take to go from sitting to standing if your feet and hands are bound? Is it physically possible to hop to safety?
And how about those characters? How well do I know them? Why do they do what they do and say what they say? Does their motivation make sense? Are they all individuals? What are their mannerisms, figures of speech? How would they handle a confrontation – get angry? run away?
Lots and lots of reading. Tough duty, I know…
I’d like to say I’m making a dent in my to-be-read pile, except that I just keep adding more and more books.
I was beyond happy to stumble upon this book, though, 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 – making me wonder whether they’ve ever actually been here. This author nails it, and I’m loving the story. Win-win. (Yeah… I might be taking notes…)
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. And interestingly, knowing what’s coming up next will help me revise that pesky manuscript that’s just lying around. I am having fun cooking up new mayhem for my beloved characters.
More on that in another post…
Which leaves me wonderting – why did I ever think that writing a book meant sitting down and writing – you know – a book? Yeah, about that…
Which all leads me to…
Sometimes a break should just be a break – you know? – Getting messy with some art journaling…
– and getting outdoors!
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?