I actually have a complete first draft of a novel! I wasn’t sure it would ever happen. Hang on while I savour it for a moment…
…Ok. About the draft:
1) Title TBD. The story has the same main character and universe that I created in one of my short stories, but I may or may not keep the original title. I’m currently thinking not, the story has changed a lot, but I am yet to think of a good alternative so we’ll see. 2) It’s a mess. It is a first draft as Joanne Fedler describes here: The first draft and the rewrite—Vomit in a bucket. An apt, if gross, metaphor. But, all the pieces to the puzzle are there. What remains is for me to go back and decide which pieces to keep, which to throw away, and what needs reshaping for a better fit.
Both Joanne Fedler and Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft) agree that I should let the story sit for a while before I tackle draft number two. The idea being that if I give myself time to forget what I wrote, I can go back with more objective eyes. Stephen recommends about three months. As far as about two thirds of my novel goes, we’re already there. It took me a lot longer than that to finish, and it spent a fair amount of time sitting incomplete in a drawer. My most recent goal was to finish the first draft by the end of summer and here we are at the beginning of November. And I’m sooo ok with that–did I mention I wasn’t sure it would ever happen at all?
I’ll take a crack at draft two sooner rather than later. Then I’ll try the let-it-rest tactic before draft three. I’m already sure it will take at least three iterations to make this thing presentable, hopefully less than ten (apparently one of Judy Blume’s novel’s took twenty drafts. Yikes!) I have been thinking I might give myself a bit of a break and write some short stories for a change before burying myself in this project again. Aside from the benefit of a shift in focus, short stories (when I let people see them) are a good source of feedback. It’s been a while since I’ve had much of that.
Now, back to savouring the moment.