The End. Nothing feels better than typing those two little words, knowing you have finally committed a story to the page. First draft finished. If you can believe it, I started writing this book on 31st January 2017. It’s taken me nearly 18 months to get to this point, writing book two on and off, interspersed with essential editing (editing and more editing) for book one, The Dream Wife.
For me, now, this isn’t a draft I would be happy showing to anyone, let alone my agent or editor. It is merely 74,000 words in a word document, but not even 74,000 good words. It still needs a hell of a lot of work. Revision after revision. But it’s a good start.
Things need changing. For example:
- It’s inconsistent. Characters change names, they gain opinions and actions they weren’t doing at the beginning. Some of them even inexplicably disappear, never to return.
- The language is awful. I use ‘suddenly’ too much. My characters are always glancing, nodding and shrugging. In one chapter I use the word ‘perpendicular’ four times.
- The holes! Sentences stop in the middle, mainly because I forgot what I was trying to say and just abandoned it. Entire chapters don’t exist. Plot lines pick up in part 3, without any previous explanation or development.
- It’s too short. But that’s okay, because of the above.
- The story is Not Quite Good Enough. But that’s also okay, but inspiration will strike again in draft number 2.
So what’s next?
For me, I need to sit down, old style, with a paper and pen, and write out my character biographies. Who are they, what’s their story, what do they look like? What are all their little quirks that make them people? It may seem odd, doing this now, but they don’t feel fully formed until the end of the first draft: I haven’t seen all their motivations and character traits until this point. But I need to get it down on paper, because in the next draft they need to be consistent, and to feel real and breathing.
Then it’s back to the word document. Re-name with a brand new version 2, and plod on.
Just keep swimming.