Euphoria – Finishing the First Draft

Hi!  J here.  I’m floating on cloud nine this week.  I finished the first draft of my last WIP.  Yup – finito.  Done.  Ahhhhh!  What a feeling.  I’m rewarding myself with a whole week off, from that project.  Ya gotta let it marinate for a little bit.  Monday I’ll start the monumental task of beginning The Second Draft.

The Cordovan Vault was the first novel I completed.  It had 14 drafts.  Fourteen!  Of course I was the newest of rookies and was just floundering my way through the whole process.  I’ve learned a TON of stuff about writing and publishing since then and my goal with The Peacock Tale is to have it into the public’s hands with fewer than six drafts.  I think it’s doable.

The first draft is the hardest for me (although drafts 12-14 were pretty daunting last time ’cause I wanted to work on something new!) because it honestly feels a little bit like I’m ripping the story out of my brain.  I find writing hard to do.  Idea generating, outlining, summarizing, editing – those things are easy for me, but letting the story unfold on the page is hard.

The second draft might actually be my favorite step in writing process.  It’s like reading (which I love) but there is still a little creativity involved.  I’ve got a ton of “bagels” to work out.  Bagels are things that I didn’t know or have nailed down when writing the first draft.  For example, right now The Peacock Tale has several references to Bagel-lawyerman a character I haven’t actually named yet.  And there is a mysterious tool used by the main characters, currently called a bagel.

And then there are the yellow highlights.  While I was writing the book, if there was something that I thought I should add in later and didn’t want to forget (like at the end of the book, I decided that one character should be an avid skateboarder) I made a note to go back and write that in.  I highlighted the note in yellow.  Or there might be something that I wanted to go back and research later, like what time high tide was in a particular area of North Carolina on a particular day in 2010.  There are a lot of yellow highlights.

The second draft is also where I’ll do a lot of cutting.  I’ll pull out all that boring stuff that I had to write to get a complete story done.  I think it’s much easier to cut than create.

Draft 3 will be the first printed “book” version and I’ll make sure the story looks good in book form.  I’m sure there will be lots of little word changes and paragraph modifications.

Draft 4 will go to the beta readers and will likely bring one last round of changes to the story.

Draft 5 will go to the Editor (rookie mistake last time, not having someone else edit for me).

Version 6 will be launched upon the public amid fanfare and confetti…ahhh dreams of glory.  Launch Date for The Peacock Tale: October 18, 2011.  Start counting the days….

So that’s today’s secret – you need a plan to get that book from your computer to readers’ hands.  What’s your plan?  And what’s your favorite part of the writing process?

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7 thoughts on “Euphoria – Finishing the First Draft”

  1. Congratulations J!!! What an awesome feeling and awesome milestone. And I think the way you’ve been at it, you will make that launch date no problem.

    I need to finish…right now that’s the only plan I have. My plan is to lock myself away until I do. You might now see me for a while. :) And it could be ugly…Me, not the book…hopefully not the book.

    1. I hear you! I had read The Hunger Games back in the end of June and loved it. I wanted to read the rest of the series immediately, but forced myself to wait until I finished The Peacock Tale draft. In the last two days, I’ve devoured Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Having a reward helped me stay focused.

  2. Euphoria is the right word to describe what you feel. I just finished my WIP too and smiled the entire night. Congrats! This writing this is no so easy.

    1. It isn’t easy! I know some people say the story just pours out of them, but I don’t have that talent and it’s hard work!

  3. Yahoo!! Congratulations! Enjoy the happiness. I’m in draft 2 right now – cleaning up the continuity and fixing all the typo/grammar stuff. Once I’m done, the book is going off to my beta readers (who are not writers). After that I will be hitting up my critique partners (and you all know who you are!). When I hit this stage – then I am on draft 3. Usually that is the last draft for me. I followed this method with Mystic Ink and it allowed me to move onto the next book and not hang onto it forever and ever.

    1. Yeah, I lingered way to long over The Cordovan Vault, but I think it helped develop the story since I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m ready, this time, to finish and move on.

  4. CONGRATS! Yes that is in large typeface because I’m really happy for you. Now to the content of this blog: Excellent! Thank you for sharing this, your process, with your readers, me.

    What’s my favorite part of the writing process? Probably the first edit because I got through all the other “push-yourself-hard” stuff like the idea generating, outlining, and summarizing as you said. Though I do have to say that this first part of writing a book may not be my absolute favorite there is only a narrow margin of difference between the preference I have in the process of the idea generating first draft and the first edit where I still feel as though I am at the helm and in control in the second draft. The reason for this is that I really like to create and imagine and design and that is mostly first draft. The first edit is where I still feel as though I have control over the piece. Things will change and more ideas will be developed etc.

    Now to answer your other question: my plan is to just do it…I can’t over think the process because I’ll over talk myself right out of it. I have a plan and I just need to continue to do it. Nonetheless, I may keep your draft plan, if that’s okay, because this will be like my own writing cheerleader . Thanks for a wonderful post and YIPPEE/ RAH-RAH for your success once again! No Kidding!

    Debralee Mede

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