Achievement Unlocked: Complete First Draft

First Draft!Remember last week when I wrote a post about how I was almost finished the first draft of my WIP?

Well, the seemingly impossible has happened.

I’ve FINISHED.

(Yes, that did deserve all capitals.)

I typed the last word of my novel last night. (For the curious, that word was “do”.)

In total, the first draft is 88,760 words. That works out to 326 pages. If you’re like many non-writers, that doesn’t mean much to you. So if you’d like an idea of what that means in real terms, grab a handy paperback book and open it to page 326.

That’s how big my novel is.

Before you ask…

No, you can’t read it.

Not yet.

I still have a LOT of work to do before my novel is finished, and even a lot of work to do before I’ll willingly hand it over to beta readers. So, what happens now?

My plan goes something like this:

  1. Take a break for a few days. Because wine. And chocolate. And the accolades of my friends and family.
  2. Because I’m a pantser rather than a plotter, a lot of story elements actually changed during the writing process. I significantly changed the backstory of my protagonist at about 35,000 words. I significantly changed the motivations of the antagonist at about 40,000 words. I changed the setting at 50,000 words and the season at 65,000 words. So a lot of the early part of the story is, shall we say, inconsistent with the last half. So my second step is to address this.
    • I’ll read through the first half, making notes about structural and character changes that need to happen.
    • I’m not going to pay any attention to word usage, spelling, grammar, etc during this.
    • Then I’ll step into the story and make the changes I’ve highlighted.
    • Finally, I’ll make the relevant changes to setting and season where necessary for the continuity of the story. (But without getting bogged down in adding description.)
  3. Then it will be time to hand it over to my alpha readers and ask for feedback on the story, structure, and characters.

I don’t know how long it will take for my alpha readers to give me their feedback, but I don’t plan on touching this novel again until 2-3 months has passed from the time I hand it over. Then there’s a round of edits, beta reading, more edits, and possibly more beta reading. But I’ll think about all that later.

So what am I going to do during the upcoming 2-3 months?

I’m glad you asked.

You see, I have this great idea for a novel…

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36 Comments

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36 responses to “Achievement Unlocked: Complete First Draft

  1. I’m in the 2 -3 month hiatus as well. Congratulations, it’s a huge deal 🙂

  2. Congratulations. A fantastic achievement and so early in the year as well. Just think what you could achieve in the next ten months.

    The Booker Prize awaits…

  3. Congratulations. I know that feeling and it is a great one to know that you have struggled and struggled to reach the (first bit of) the end. Taking a break at this stage is wise.
    –JW

  4. Congrats!!! If not capital letters, multiple exclamation points deserved.

    Isn’t it crazy how fluid the whole process is? I recently picked up my manuscript after 6-7 weeks of letting it sit my sock drawer and, though like you I made many changes in the first draft, I am finding just as much, if not more (new scenes, adding a character to an earlier scene, cuts, details, etc.) to change in this round!

    Enjoy your downtime from this project…and if you feel so inclined, GO for it– jump into the next! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Julie. I love the fluidity of the process. It’s exciting and challenging and so inspiring to see the story take shape on the page. Good luck with your revisions, too!

  5. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog so I nominated you for a Liebster Award! Stop over to my blog for details! http://cherylfassett.wordpress.com/

  6. CONGRATULATIONS! Caps-lock isn’t quite enough to emphasize that. Pop the corks on champagne! Have some caviar! Pour yourself the brand of beer that Australian’s *really* drink. (Over here in America, we seem to be convinced it’s something called “Fosters”.)

    And then, yes, take a nice long break, do something else (a new novel is a good idea) and then go back and edit it. But for now, celebrate!

    • Clearly you didn’t read the rules of this blog, Dan. The word ‘Fosters’ is never, ever, ever to be mentioned in conjunction with the words ‘beer’ and ‘Australia’. Ick. 😉

      I’ve been enjoying the last couple of days immensely. I’ve had plenty of wine to drink, deliveries of flowers (I love having a supportive network of friends and family), chocolate, and lots of congratulations. It’s a great feeling.

      And I’ve got my next novel idea ready to go, so will be jumping into that within the next week or so. 🙂

  7. I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!! I find your posts so encouraging, thank you! 🙂

  8. Congratualtions, Jo! And cheers! (*Raises wine glass in a toast*) I’m having some down time right now too. I want to do NaNoEdMo in March—50 hours of editing in 31 days.

  9. Congratulations! By all means, take a well-earned break. And I expect that working on something else for a bit will make it easier to tackle the revisions.

  10. Another milestone on the way to publication! Well done!

  11. Time to put on some cheap sunglasses and stroll around town like people should be wishing they’re you! Grats!

  12. Many congratulations, I know exactly how you feel. Enjoy the rest phase, just try not to let the new idea take over from the old….

  13. Congrats Jo, that’s awesome! All the best for the first round of edits.

  14. Lemme be the first to have a FEEL of the hard paper back when its out! I am going to stalk you until it’s out!

  15. Pingback: February 2013 Writing Update | Write Way Round

  16. Congrats once again! (As you can see, I’m still catching up on my backlog of blog posts… It’s been super-busy times, lately.) I can’t promise that I’d be a timely reader (see above re: super-busy times)… but I’m willing to give it a read if you need more feedback when it’s ready.

  17. Pingback: February 2013 Writing Update » The Zombie Chimp

  18. Pingback: February 2013 Writing Update | Keyboard Pizza

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