Thursday, November 19, 2009

First Draft... COMPLETE!

Joseph Joubert once said,
"Genius* begins great works; labor alone finishes them."

And, at this very moment, I completely agree with him.  Because without that spark of inspiration and the substantial amount of hard work that followed -- I'd never be able to type the next sentence.

I finished Project Jane!!
(The first draft anyway.)  Which I (tentatively**) titled Shattered. 

And seriously, here's how the entire process went down.

First, I had the idea.  It hit me and I couldn't ignore it.  I was revved.  I knew I had something good.  I was excited and words flowed like chocolate fondue at a fancy wedding.  (You know the type... Like 10 tiers of freefalling chocolaty goodness.)

I felt like this:

Then about 10,000 words in something happened. The words slowed down... The process began to feel more like molasses.  Thick, slow rolling molasses.  Heavy.  The excitement was still there, but I was weighed down.  Doubts, writer's blocks, the realization that completing a novel is not all butterflies and roses.

I felt like this:

And that's pretty much how I stayed for the next 85,000 words.  I loved my characters; I loved my plot.  I never stopped loving the writing process (I never will), but the hard work factor rocked me.

Oooh boy, but let me tell you.  The effort and blood and sweat and tears were all worth it when I typed the very last paragraph... the very last sentence... very last word.

So, if you're a first time writer stumbling across this blog, know this: don't give up on the first draft! It loses its magic sometimes and you might get bored with it.  But don't stop writing because finishing it feels amazing.  And you can always go back to edit the parts you forced yourself to write.  (And maybe, if you're lucky, they actually came out a lot better than you thought they did!) 
(Also, check out the hashtag #amwritingparty on twitter... It's a nightly party with writers who are super, super supportive and all in some stage - be it writing, editing, or brainstorming - of the writing process.)

As for me?  I've got a few edits to take care of immediately, before I forget that I wanted to do them.  (I made a list while I wrote, since I didn't edit while writing).  Then, I'm putting Shattered away for a few weeks before I enter the next phase, which I believe is going to feel

a little bit like this:

And a LOT like this:

(Except without the balls... and with my manuscript.)

*Genius, insofar as how I relate to the quote, refers to the creative spirit.  I'm not trying to say I have a large IQ.  (I mean, I'm blonde after all...)
**I think the title fits my story perfectly... I'm just hesitant because a quick google search told me that Dean Koontz wrote a novel called Shattered, in the 70s... And I'm not sure what the protocol is for using a title that's already been used...

♥ me


  1. Congratulations! The first draft is such a huge milestone. Reading your post brought back in stark detail the slogging I did in my first draft. It was a rollercoaster ride, most of it downhill with a few loops in there. I thought I would feel all excited at finishing it, but there was so much work ahead, I just kind of put it away and moved on to some short stories. All the things I didn't like about it when I was done were still there when I got back to it. Sooo...This round of revision is more of a rewrite with a reconfigured story arc, combination of characters and on and on. My hope is that after this revision, I'll have a much tighter story that I enjoy so that I can actually revise more than rewrite.Thanks for the post! It's nice to know I'm not the only one who did a whole bunch of trudging.

  2. CONGRATS! The revision process scared me to death at first but I ended up loving it. I hope you do too! :)

  3. You DID it!!! Congratulations! You are awesome. [standing ovation awesome!] So happy for you. There's just no feeling like getting that last word typed...well, it's a lot like having a baby, actually, except no one hands you balloons and you're the only one crying.

    Oh, and you can't copyright titles, so feel free to use whatever titles you want (although, I'd avoid Twilight or Harry Potter for the time being). I think Shattered is a perfect title. Very catchy!!!!

    Well done, m'dear!

  4. "And maybe, if you're lucky, they actually came out a lot better than you thought they did!"

    Oh, how true! My flirtation with Write or Die produced some complete crap, but it also produced some gems, much to my surprise.

    But enough about that... CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

    And you're allowed to reuse titles, especially ones that aren't too specific--though certain titles shouldn't be touched with a 300 ft. pole, for fear of comparisons. Your agent or editor'll work with you on the title anyway.

  5. Yay-so happy for you! (But you do realize this probably means Ninjadillo and, *gulp* Il Primo are going to find you now. I'd be carefull of how many times you say the "revise" word. :)

  6. Thanks guys :-) And Shannon, I can handle Ninjadillo - I kind of want to be his friend. Il Primo is really scary. Can you please not tell him?

  7. YESSSSS!!!! GO SARA!! :) :)

    lol, the chainsaw. Gotta love the chainsaw.

  8. Sara! Congrats! It's such a good feeling when you finish a MS. I hope it finds a home soon and becomes a huge success!!!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  9. Congratulations!

    To have typed my two favorite words 'The End' is a huge achievement. You should be very proud of yourself. As every writer knows, it is an uphill battle at times, yet so worth the struggle.

    Applause! X

  10. Woohoo!!! Congrats! It's a glorious feeling - enjoy it :)

    I used a very large chainsaw on my last ms! Once I got the hang of it, the chopping was fun.


Yay! I love when you have things to add :)