Friday, March 13, 2009

First Draft: Finished!

You guys, I totally finished the first draft of the novel!

Okay, the deets. Draft one is 88,260 words long. Three hundred fourteen pages. It has an actual, honest to goodness plot. Conflict. Subplots even (that I did not know what I was going to do with and miraculously came together in a fit of Diet Coke early yesterday morning). Rising action, a climax, a resolution. It has a love story (of course, how I love to write about love!). Characterization. It has voice.

Now, it also completely sucks. But that is okay, because it is a first draft. Sure, it has the items listed above but in very rough form. I kept switching the names around of two secondary characters – they are too much alike. I don’t know if third-person point of view works and might have to switch it to first. Another secondary character totally disappears two-thirds through the book. There are way too many adverbs.

These are things I can fix in the rewriting stage. This is where the real work exists, I think. I can be all “yeah, I wrote a novel in three months” bad about myself (at least for a little while, right?). But, how good can a book that only took three months to bake be? Answer: not very. So, I have lots to do.

First, I take a break from it. I can’t decide between two weeks and four weeks, so I think I will settle on three. I need to have a rewriting plan. My first plan of attack will be to print this puppy out and go through it with a red pen, marking plot holes, crossing out adverbs, identifying spots to develop.

When I wrote my first book, I wrote it all linearly. First draft all the way through. Second draft all the way through. Third draft, etc., etc. I really think the back half of my first novel was a lot stronger than the front, because I was a stronger writer the more time I spent with it.

But guess what? Agents don’t request pages 180 to 220. They request the first three chapters, or ten pages, or more often, just the first five pages. So I need to get the beginning in the absolute best shape possible. I’m going to try rewriting differently this time, I just don’t know how yet.

I will think about rewriting plans during my break from this book. I also have to outline what other writing goals I’ll have. I want to rework some existing short stories and send a few more out for publication. So I have to put some goals around that, too.

Wow, so lots more to do! I am tired just thinking about it. So, I am going to get a Big Gulp and a sesame seed bagel from Dunkin Donuts, eat/caffeine myself into a stupor while watching bad morning television and then likely take a nap. Where is Season 2 of Mad Men when you need it?


  1. Congrats! I'm so anxious to be where you are... 30,000 words to go. Enjoy your junk food and story revisions. Yeah... Mad Men.

  2. Thanks Linda! Good luck with your draft. Sounds like you are well on your way!

  3. Hi, I just found your blog and wanted to say congratulations on finished your first draft. I actually just finished a first draft of my WIP this past week as well, and am starting to think about rewriting strategies. You are right though, this is when the real work begins.

  4. Congrats Kate! Doesn't it feel great to have that first draft behind you? Yet I miss the ole thing already and it will be hard to let it sit for a while. But both the book and I need the rest!

  5. Congratulations! I just finished my first draft too! Treat yourself and tell everyone you know. he he :-)

  6. Good Job! I can't wait until I get to read it. -Ben

  7. Also, Lisa, can I have your e-mail, I have something I want to send you.

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