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Elorenalory
01-14-2014, 05:27 PM
Last night I wrote THE END under the first draft of my very first novel... and I am not really sure how I feel about that at the moment.

First of all I feel excited. I did it! I managed to stick with a story until the end. I proved to myself at least that I am a writer.

But I also feel lost now, and a bit scared. I have a first draft, now what? I have never gotten this far until now, so I am entering uncharted territories. What do I do now? How do I go about rewriting and editing this? I must admit that the thought of all the work ahead is paralyzing.

So I need your advice on how to proceed from here. How do I turn my first draft into the book it deserves to be?

Phaeal
01-14-2014, 06:02 PM
CGs and my immediate suggestion:

Let the first draft rest for four-six weeks while you read Renni Browne and Dave King's Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. This comprehensive and highly approachable book will give you an overview of the editing process and the "lingo" of fiction writing.

Because editing is the next step, and it's not nearly as scary as some books (and people) would have you believe. Yeah, there's so much to think about -- does the plot hang together, do the characters act like real people, is that the right structure, the right chapter break, the right word? -- but you can break the process into doable chunks. My own approach: Plan on a series of subsequent drafts, each concentrating on a different thing. For example:

Second draft: Address big picture issues, like plot coherence, overall structure, character arcs

Third draft: Fine-tune the above; start fretting about the language itself.

Fourth draft: Really fret the language itself: polish!

The other important thing: Breathe and indulge in the forbidden pleasures of your choice. You have a completed first draft, without which nothing!

CGs!

Elorenalory
01-14-2014, 06:08 PM
CGs and my immediate suggestion:

Let the first draft rest for four-six weeks while you read Renni Browne and Dave King's Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. This comprehensive and highly approachable book will give you an overview of the editing process and the "lingo" of fiction writing.

The other important thing: Breathe and indulge in the forbidden pleasures of your choice. You have a completed first draft, without which nothing!

CGs!

Thank you for the suggestion, I am definitely going to check out that book! And it's true that breaking the editing process into small tasks makes it seem much less daunting.

And I am planning on buying cake and a bottle of wine and getting absolutely smashed tonight. Oh, and finally watch season 1 of Broadchurch that's been sitting on my DVR waiting for me to finish writing too.

Jo Zebedee
01-14-2014, 06:11 PM
Hooray! Go and eat chocloate and say you're wonderful. Write something else, even if it's for fun and then go back to it in a few weeks. Even better, join a crit group and get feedback!

Elorenalory
01-14-2014, 06:13 PM
Hooray! Go and eat chocloate and say you're wonderful. Write something else, even if it's for fun and then go back to it in a few weeks. Even better, join a crit group and get feedback!

I was planning on doing that too, or trying to find a few beta readers to swap novels with. But I am not doing that with a very raw first draft. I want to make sure my story is as good as I can make it before I send it out for feedback.

Kylabelle
01-14-2014, 06:14 PM
Congratulations! Savor the accomplishment. :)

Maggie Maxwell
01-14-2014, 06:16 PM
Congratulations!! Agreeing with everyone else when they say take a break from it now. Work on something else for a few weeks. Give your story some time to sit and yourself time to stop thinking about it. It'll make editing a lot easier.

Elorenalory
01-14-2014, 06:45 PM
Congratulations!! Agreeing with everyone else when they say take a break from it now. Work on something else for a few weeks. Give your story some time to sit and yourself time to stop thinking about it. It'll make editing a lot easier.

I decided to write a series of short stories set in a totally different setting. I will start the world building and character sheets today for that. Hopefully the change from sci-fi to fantasy and a different format will help distance myself enough from the novel to read it with fresh eyes when I get back to it.

Canton
01-14-2014, 07:08 PM
I decided to write a series of short stories set in a totally different setting. I will start the world building and character sheets today for that. Hopefully the change from sci-fi to fantasy and a different format will help distance myself enough from the novel to read it with fresh eyes when I get back to it.

Definitely an interesting approach. Is this one novel a compilation of several short stories? Reminds me a tad of Cloud Atlas, though I haven't actually seen it. Best of luck.

Elorenalory
01-14-2014, 07:27 PM
Definitely an interesting approach. Is this one novel a compilation of several short stories? Reminds me a tad of Cloud Atlas, though I haven't actually seen it. Best of luck.

No, the novel I finished is a murder mystery and is not broken into short stories. That's why I thought that writing a few short stories instead of a novel-length story would be a welcome change. The stories will have a common world and will be about the same character though.

V.J. Allison
01-14-2014, 07:30 PM
Congrats on finishing draft one of your first novel!

Siri Kirpal
01-14-2014, 10:53 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Congrats of the accomplishment! Yeah, I do know that what-do-I-do-now feeling.

Once you have your book polished, you can ask for beta readers--people who will give you a second opinion, like: how come this character's doing this when you've just said that? There's a section of the forum where you can ask for beta readers, or you can friends you've made here by pm, or you can put a note that you'd like a beta reader in your signature line.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

RightHoJeeves
01-18-2014, 01:50 PM
Well done! It's a great feeling. Have some time off and then get back to work ;)

L. Y.
01-19-2014, 07:49 AM
Congrats for all of your hard work! :)

PamelaC
01-19-2014, 08:04 AM
You're my hero! Well done!

profen4
01-19-2014, 05:13 PM
You've got good advice, so nothing to add on that front, but wanted to say congratulations on crossing the finish line on your first draft!