Writing my novel has been a process of ‘two steps forward, one step back’ because I was not able to take the advice of some writers and just plunge forward without looking back. I did turn around and ponder. I sometimes second-guessed the motives or choices of my characters. I challenged them to take risks. I tried different approaches to scenes.
As I wrote and I changed something about a character, or about the plot, I couldn’t help myself from going back and making related changes throughout the novel as I wrote the first draft. I revised as I went along. I took breaks. I set the manuscript aside often to gain perspective. After two years of working this way, I finally finished a first draft of my YA novel.
At first, I was in shock. My reaction? No reaction. Again, I put the manuscript to the side and took a deep breath. I exhaled. And then, a few days later, came a great sense of satisfaction. Not that my novel is anywhere near perfect or ready for submission but this first draft is complete. It is currently 68, 696 words and 242 pages in length.
Now, as I wait for feedback from a few people, I am hoping to develop some emotional distance from the novel so that I can be as open as possible to critiques.
In a week or so, after absorbing feedback, I’ll move on to another round of revisions.
When you finish a first draft of a piece of writing, how do you prepare yourself for the next stage of revision?