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Satsya
06-16-2011, 01:14 PM
I'm curious to hear what methods people have for this:

I’ve just finished the first draft of my first novel. I’ve been working on this project for years, and thinking about it every day for the past six months. I’ve got the entire plot jammed into my head. I’m currently setting the story aside for a couple weeks or so before I look at it again, so I can get a fresher perspective on it. And…I’m now twiddling my thumbs awkwardly, deciding what to do next. This book has been my focus for some time, so to suddenly have it done with—temporarily—is strange.

What do other writers do during their post-first-draft-but-not-yet-publishable time? Do you dive right in to one of your other writing projects? Do you take a break from heavy duty writing until the current project is further along? Finally take the opportunity to research how to juggle monkeys? Or something else entirely? Why? And how does your method benefit you, and your ability to edit/work with your story-in-progress?

Also, apologies if this thread has been done to death. I poked around the top few pages of this subforum and couldn’t find anything.

gothicangel
06-16-2011, 02:45 PM
I'm curious to hear what methods people have for this:

Iíve just finished the first draft of my first novel. Iíve been working on this project for years, and thinking about it every day for the past six months. Iíve got the entire plot jammed into my head. Iím currently setting the story aside for a couple weeks or so before I look at it again, so I can get a fresher perspective on it. AndÖIím now twiddling my thumbs awkwardly, deciding what to do next. This book has been my focus for some time, so to suddenly have it done withótemporarilyóis strange.

What do other writers do during their post-first-draft-but-not-yet-publishable time? Do you dive right in to one of your other writing projects? Do you take a break from heavy duty writing until the current project is further along? Finally take the opportunity to research how to juggle monkeys? Or something else entirely? Why? And how does your method benefit you, and your ability to edit/work with your story-in-progress?

Also, apologies if this thread has been done to death. I poked around the top few pages of this subforum and couldnít find anything.

I have a different method, and I didn't plan much before I started writing the book. I'm about half way through and I'm already thinking about rewriting the beginning which is pretty weak right now, and research.

I can give you a great quote from a book called How To Write A Damn Good Novel by James N Frey:


When I asked the successful young woman about her work, she said that upon my class she quickly realized that her ambition was far greater than her abilities, and if she was ever going to write anything worth reading, she would have to learn to 're-dream the dream.'

When I asked the other woman how she approached her work, she thought a while and said that once she saw a scene a certain way, that was it. It was like a memory. How can you change a memory? It's fixed.

Then I realized that an inabilty to re-dream the dream was the very reason I had taken so long to write something worth publishing. I would write a story, bring it to my workshop, have it criticized , and when it came to reworking it, I was not able to re-dream the dream. I would instead replace the dream with a new dream. I was not rewriting - I was throwing out what I had written and starting all over again.

How do you re-dream the dream? It takes hard work and practice [. . .] Even though re-dreaming is a difficult skill to master, it's a deadly mistake not to learn to do it.

Chris P
06-16-2011, 02:53 PM
I've done all of the things you've mentioned at different times. Sometimes I'll take to a new project with a vengeance, and sometimes I'll put all the writing away and go live life for a while. There's no one set thing I do, or should do. Different things are useful at different times.

Isabelle
06-16-2011, 06:02 PM
It is a strange feeling to put aside something that you've invested so much time and though into...I know I felt a bit lost. For me, the best thing is to start planning and researching my next project. It zapped away that floaty purposeless feeling.

Fiona
06-16-2011, 06:29 PM
I remember feeling quite low after The Banishing came out.

It was weird, because after months of writing it (and re-writes), and editing, promotion, planning, good reviews etc, I started to feel low. And I truly believe that was because so much of my life, my thoughts, energy and time was pumped into it, that by the time it was released and out of my hands, I felt lost... it was a very weird feeling.

It might sound a little over-the-top, but The Banishing was all I lived and breathed for a while, so to 'let go' of it, for a while, was like losing my right hand. It was like starting over.

My only way to get out of that mentality was throwing myself into other work... short stories, pieces for my blog, and beginning my next novel.

I think keeping busy and working on other things is the only way to go, otherwise you'll really get frustrated and bored, just waiting to get back to it.

NeuroFizz
06-16-2011, 07:01 PM
I don't think this applies to the OP, but it may come into play with time off.

It does no good to set a story aside if one is going to obsess (or be depressed) about it during that period. It's necessary to put it out-of-mind for awhile or get right into modifications.

Two possibilties: Either get to work on another project (doesn't have to be a writing project) or jump into the editing process.

Setting aside + obsessing (or being depressed) about the project = a waste of valuable time and energy

Nivarion
06-16-2011, 07:19 PM
Hard manual labor. No, I am not joking.

Nothing takes your mind off something like working your can off. If you have none of it to do around home (I don't believe that when anyone says it) ask around your church, work place and other communities you frequent. Somebody will be willing to put you to work.

Last time I built a three foot concrete wall around my yard and then put a six foot picket fence on top. Jump my fence again eh? :D

Satsya
06-17-2011, 03:11 AM
Heh, thanks for the varied responses!

I am starting to force myself to think about another (collaborative) project involving writing, but that’s fairly different from working on a novel (it’s a video game!).

The only thing holding me back before was feeling that my current story’s plot would drain out of my head to make room for the new story—but realistically, I’ve realized that’s not a worry I can let stop me from moving on to other projects. And maybe, for future editing, it’s better to forget the current book’s plot for the moment.

Flur
06-17-2011, 03:25 AM
I jumped right into a new project. After 6 months of working on my first ms, then suddenly being finished, I felt lost as well.