I finished my first draft last week. So far my mind has not congratulated me with any clips of people panting at the top of a mountain or cheering at the top of the stairs. There have been noparades. Not even a single piece of bunting.
Truthfully, my first draft often feels like one long piece of crap, starting shapely and solid in the beginning, and disintegrating into diarrhoea at the end. All the same, I could not be more proud of it. I crapped it out, and now I am going to make it better.
The plan is to let it hibernate until 1 May, in the meantime working on other projects and building up an armoury of stationery so I will be ready to attack.
I’ve never written a second draft before, but I have a feeling this will be my favourite part of the process. In the first draft I started with an idea that I coaxed into a few initial polished chapters, from there descending into a rash of notes and loose ideas, broken pieces and incongruous scenes. Now I know the path of the story, and it is only with the second draft that I can start to take some of my later notes and ideas, and insert them into the earlier parts of the story where they need to start. Only now can I lay the traps at the beginning which lead to the climactic crunch at the end. Only now can I start to really understand how the pieces of my world and characters interact, and write the first chapter that is what it should be.
In the meantime, I shall ignore the novel entirely. Time to finish off my other short stories. They have been very patient. I’m also going to work on a few exercises and keep sharpening my craft, and I have a bunch of my own life stories and musings I want to write. I even wrote a poem yesterday.
I am feverishly excited to return to the novel though, and I know it’s a story worthy of finishing. I am excited to make it the very best it can be.