Yes, folks, it’s celebration time. After WAY too long (I started this process over two years ago), I have finally finished the first draft of my novel.
It’s been a long and interesting process, and I’ve learned a lot along the way, both about storytelling and also about myself. From my decision to cut over 70,000 words back at the start of the year and restructure the whole thing, to the blogs I’ve been frequenting and the courses I’ve attended (a big hello to Lucy Clark, who has been extremely helpful), it’s been a journey of ups and downs, peaks and troughs, finally culminating in today, when the last scene was penned and the book finished.
It’s an odd feeling. I have written completed novels before, but this is the first one that I’ve felt confident enough to unleash on an unsuspecting public by way of publication. (Yes, I have other things online, under another name, but that’s something else entirely.) And I know that this is only the start – there are months of editing ahead of me. Heck, I haven’t even read the whole thing through from start to finish yet to make sure it makes sense! I have a bundle of notes that I will keep handy when I get to that point, just to make sure I’m going in the right direction when it comes to structure and the like, and I’m full of enthusiasm to get that process underway. I know, though, that I need to let it rest for a little while. Give myself a break. Because only when I’m looking at this story with fresh eyes will I be able to edit it properly.
As such, I’m taking December off writing entirely. I shall continue to blog, of course, and to read, but the novel is being put away until the Christmas and new year celebrations are over. Then, once I’ve had that break, I’ll bring out the red pen and really go through it – structurally first, then characterisation and the like, and finally line edits. I’ve chosen this order because line edits are so easy to do, and if I start with those I’ll get sidelined with those and never do the big stuff. Besides, why busy yourself with the minutiae when you know that it’s all likely to change anyway when you do the structural edits?
So there it is. I’m about to uncork the champagne to celebrate, and I’ve promised my fingers a manicure as a reward. After all, they’ve done the bulk of the work here. And then I’m putting this manuscript away until 2013, when I can hopefully attack it with fresh eyes.
Boy, am I exhausted. But really, really pleased with myself at the same time. This is a milestone and one I’m determined to mark. Cheers all!