"I'm done!" I said, in a voice full of bravado, conviction and more than a little self-satisfaction. "I've completed the first draft of my novel, now all I have to do is the rewrite, then some minor proofing, and it will be ready to go!"
Ah yes, the excitement of finishing that first draft. It was an amazing feeling, and so worth celebrating. I would encourage anyone who is currently working on a first draft (especially a first draft of a first novel), to take a moment and truly savor the accomplishment once you make it to the end. You have, in fact, completed the telling of a complex story, with real, living, breathing characters, from start to finish and there is no other feeling quite like it. Except, I imagine, finishing the rewrite and fully prepping the book for publication, but that's a blog for another time...
Fast forward a couple weeks. The excitement has subsided a bit as I'm staring the rewrite square in the face. Don't get me wrong, I'm still quite pleased with the accomplishment of finishing the first draft and I'm confident that much of it, particularly the last half will remain largely intact--but the beginning...oh my, that's a completely different matter. In fact, it's almost like starting over...almost. Let me be clear, I'm not complaining. I am, in fact, still quite excited about the prospect of finishing and publishing my first complete novel. I am also, one-hundred-and-ten-percent sold on the process of writing a complete first draft, without looking back, before ever considering a rewrite. I have learned so much more about my characters, my story and even future stories by writing straight through than I ever would have if I'd have tried to go back and "fix" things along the way. Now, as I begin the rewriting process, I have, as one fellow author told me via Twitter, a "roadmap" to my complete story. Even so, the task is daunting, particularly in light of the limited amount of time I have available to devote to it.
One of the things that simplified the writing of the first draft for me was/is my mobile devices (iphone/ipad) and a wonderful text editing app called iAWriter. This combo gave me the flexibility to write a significant portion of my first draft a paragraph or two at a time, whenever I had a few moments and a reasonable idea of what I wanted to say. Once a chapter was completed via iAWriter, I'd transfer it over to Word for a more thorough editing job. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the rewrite is going to be that easily accomplished, as I'll really need to work from the final Word files, or more than likely the printed hard copies first, making the edits by hand, then loading them into the Word files. To do that, I'll need quite a bit more than a just a few moments at a time and a reasonable idea of what I want to say.
Oh my, that certainly sounded like I was complaining didn't it? Perhaps I should quit my whining and get to work. I'll try to drop in and update you all on my progress along the way - I'm still aiming for a late summer release. Keep your fingers crossed!