So, I wrote a draft…um…what now?
This is going to be a catch-up post. This means this one is going to be a bit long. I really want to start writing about things that I’m dealing with right now, but first I gotta recap what has already happened.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to hold it against you if you don’t care about all of this recapping, but future me will care about all this. And future me is a demanding bitch.
Once I finished my first draft I wanted to jump into revising immediately. Keep in mind, I finished my first draft around 3 am––only a few measly hours away from my full day of classes. Did I care? Nuh uh. I started rereading right away.
As I wrote the first draft I came to realize that I would need to revise quite a bit, but reading it back…well let’s just say the anxiety set in. And it stayed.
Don’t get me wrong, I like my first draft. I actually really like it. Surprising, I know. I mean it’s riddled with errors and lacks many of the aspects of “craft” (does anyone else hate that word? I feel so pretentious when I use it) but it’s really not half bad. Still not good, but not terrible!
The anxiety came because I realized that the story I had wanted to tell was no longer the story I needed to tell. Basically, through writing my first draft I realized I needed to create a new storyline for my characters.
Do you get my anxiety? All that work, all that crying, all that self-doubt, all that hand cramping…and I’m changing everything? WHAT IS LIFE?!
This is when I realized I had to take a step back. I was too emotionally attached, too invested in the story I had written––the story that no longer fit these characters I had come to really know and the world they were a product of.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been taking a big step back. And it was really scary to do that at first, but now I really feel fine. Now, I don’t think this has anything to do with me being super disciplined (I’m not) or patient (I’m really not). Honestly, I think what it all boiled down to was the fact that I had others read my first draft while I played the “let things simmer game.”
Basically, I was able to release the death grip I had on my novel because I knew it wasn’t just going to sit on my computer for a month. It was going to be read, and I was going to get feedback from my most trusted individuals. So, things were moving forward, even if I wasn’t really doing anything.
Flash forward to last week. My mom finished reading my book. And she loved it! Big surprise, right? She’s my mother, she kind of has to love it. But, in truth, I wasn’t really looking for praise or even really constructive criticism.
But isn’t that why I sent it out for feedback? I mean yes, but remember, I was pretty confident I was going to need to change almost everything I had originally planned and written for book one, so while I appreciated those things, they didn’t really benefit me.
So, what was the point?
Essentially, I just wanted someone to understand my world so I could throw at them all the things I think I needed to change. Reading my book before I talked with them would 1. allow them to understand what the hell I was talking about (I write high fantasy…you ever try to explain a fantasy world to someone who isn’t familiar with it? Yeah, you feel my pain.) and 2. give them the capability to really tell me if they thought these changes would benefit my book.
I’m still waiting on my sister to finish, but my mom and I had a long talk a few days ago about all the things I was thinking about, all of the new ideas that had formed in my mind while I was letting the draft cool on my computer.
And it was SO HELPFUL.
I can’t even tell you how much I got out of our conversation. Just being able to bounce ideas off of someone who now really knows my world was just…ah priceless.
So, what am I doing now?
Well, as I said, I’m still waiting for my sister to finish so I can talk to her about the changes I want to make, but my waiting days are over. Over I tell you! I need to start revising.
Now, instead of feeling stressed about how thoroughly I’m going to have to gut my first draft, I’m excited! Really excited. Because now I know that these changes are for the best, and when I’m through with them I’ll have a draft one step closer to the story I want to tell. YAY.
Oh boy. Did I tell you it was going to be a long one or did I tell you it was going to be a long one?
Thank you for sticking through that, I appreciate it. Also, sorry if tenses got weird in there, it’s hard for me to talk in past tense for the recap while I’m also presently feeling some of these things…you catch my drift?
But, now we’re all caught up! Yip yip.
So, I really have no plan as to what I’m going to be talking about next…I guess we’ll both just have to see what challenges I face as I revise! Goody.
Thanks for reading!