02 February 2011

That First Draft Feeling

I feel like my book is at its first important milestone. I have written the story from beginning to end. It’s been a few years since I was last in this position, and it seems like decades. It’s sort of a strange feeling, not having part of the story constantly being worked over in my brain. I would usually have the next sentence or an alternative piece of dialogue coming to me from all directions (usually when I’m away from the computer), but since Monday night… nothing. A sort of peace settled on my brain. Except for last night when I was brushing my teeth, my mind wandered to a historical novel I started before my current WIP, and I hurriedly wrote the opening scene down before I settled into bed. Note – “started” for me doesn’t mean writing the beginning. I’ll explain my writing ‘process’ another time.

I thought I would feel more ecstatic than I do about getting the draft finished. I was excited all Monday thinking, “Yay, I’m going to finish it today!” (Monday was a public holiday). Then it literally took me all day and some of the evening to do it, and I was pretty exhausted by the time I finished the last sentence. I jumped on to Blogger and put my first post up, which I’d wanted to do for days. Then I went to bed.

I know I’m supposed to let the story rest for a little while before I start editing it. I’m thinking about the blog and about putting myself out there online. I also had a sneaky peak at the extra notes I have for my WIP, starting to separate them into ‘for the sequel/s’ or basically ‘could be worked into this one’. I’ve saved a couple of 2010 calendars so I can use them to make sure all the timings are realistic. And I’m starting to think who would be appropriate beta readers for this story, in maybe a month’s time.

I do feel excited about this book. There are so many moments I love, and the characters feel real. I’m nervously anticipating getting it out there – seeing what readers and then agents think. I really want to know if it’s any good. To me it’s so much better than anything I’ve done before – much more authentic. It’s a slice of who I am, even though none of it is autobiographical and none of the characters can be identified as being based on me. There are themes and messages; things I obviously wanted to ‘say’, but I didn’t know it until I read them back. There are funny moments, heartbreaking moments, romantic moments, and a bevy of (I hope) appealing potential love interests to keep the reader guessing. I wrote about deeper issues that I expected to. My characters revealed unexpected back stories and motivations. I discovered some of these characters have more stories to tell after this novel closes. And I really really hope someone out there somewhere falls in love with this story enough to make it a book and send it off into the world.

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