Today, I realized that I finished the first draft to my first novel. In that realization, I noted a few things. One of which is that I didn’t meet my goal of 85 thousand words. I was just less that 9 thousands words short. What does that mean? Not a lot, because of what else I knew. This is a first draft. There are mistakes and plot issues. Where do I go from here? Anywhere.
I started the idea of this novel through NaNoWriMo and worked at it for a few years as I completed my secondary education. I decided that I was going to write as a full time job, with a part time paying job on the side. The day after I walked across the stage of my university, I took the story idea that I had for years and wrote. I researched here and there. Took notes. Did character sketches. I even tried outlining. That was May 5th and almost three months later I have a rough draft.
Did I ever learn a few things. One, first drafts don’t make a lot of sense. Two, I really need to learn how to outline better and use that skill. Three, write what I know. Four, who is my audience (or Four, who am I writing for) and what shelf would this book be placed on in a bookstore? Some of this I learned by talking to a wiser friend than I. One that I am grateful to have.
After thinking about my plot for a few days, I came to see mistakes that I didn’t know I had. Little things that didn’t sound right or work in the bigger picture. As a writer, just because I’m not sitting at a computer typing or have a pen in, doesn’t mean that I’m not working. I think about my characters as if they are friends. I knew as I finished writing the first draft, a few things needed to change. Some small and some not so small.
I did a plot outline and reconfigured everyone’s goals. Now, the plot is less messy in terms of too much happening in a small space. Changing the location of the story helped me see my setting better. AND most of all, knowing where I wanted my book to be placed in a bookstore, helped a lot. I now have different research and a very small condensed plot outline and a whole first draft.
So today is the beginning of Draft Two. I am learning as I go and I hope that you learn something too. I really love creating new worlds through imagination. Making something out of nothing with only language isn’t easy, but it can be a blast. I have had various assignments in writing classes. Some of the more inventive writing I’ve done was through writing prompts.