On Sunday 29th November at 4.34pm precisely, I did what I'd planned to do when taking part in NaNoWriMo 2015 and that was to complete the first draft of my novel. It had taken almost 35,000 words to do that. I changed the font to 36 and typed those two words 'THE END' in large letters across the page. It was a great feeling and it has been a long time coming!
Once I came down off cloud nine and reflected on what I'd done, I knew that this was not the end but really the beginning of another journey that I hadn't ventured along before - the editing and the rewrites.
So what have I achieved so far?
- I've completed a first draft of a dual narrative story, set in two separate decades.
- I've told Clara's story set in 1965 and Rose's story set mainly in 1947 and allowed them to come to a conclusion, the two stories interlinking at the end. Both characters had to overcome obstacles on their journey through their stories and these have been resolved to a satisfactory conclusion. (Well, I hope so!)
- I've managed to sustain a very long piece of fiction, explore characters in depth and develop plots and subplots.
- I've created a story that I'm proud of, albeit in its very raw state.
- Above all, I have learned so much about novel writing.
- I've taken advice and I'm not going to look at the manuscript until the New Year. That way, it will serve to put some distance between me and the novel and hopefully when I next read it, I will be able to see its flaws more objectively. And I know there are flaws, lots of them! Here it is in a box file. I'm not going to open it no matter how tempting that will be.
- As I was writing, especially during NaNo, I didn't stop to sort out things but inserted comments with reminders of what I needed to check or find out. That will be the first thing I'll do. I'll go through each of those comments or queries and try to rectify them. It may be something as simple as checking that names are consistent or finding out details about an event that happened at that time in history.
Look out for my blog series early in 2016 when I'll be tracing the next stage of my journey as a writer and hopefully enlisting your help with recommended tips and advice.
How did you feel when you completed your first ever draft of a novel? Did you manage to leave it for a while or were you tempted to start the re-drafting straight away?
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