Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Finished the First Draft!

I did it--I finished the first draft! Again! This ain't my first rodeo, but it sorta feels like it every time. Once, about ten years ago, I wrote a whole novel. That surprised me because I don't think I believed it would ever happen. (This isn't counting the two I wrote before that, because they're really novellas, or maybe long short stories and…well, not very good at all.)

I'm not sure how long it took to finish that project, but it was years. After that I queried it for five years. I only sent out 2 queries in 2002, the first year, and 15 queries in 2003, but stepped it up after that, until I sent out 95 in 2007. I had a request for a full in 2004 and two more in 2007, but eventually it became clear that this was not getting me anywhere.

While flogging this horse, over and over and over, I became frustrated enough to return to my first love, short stories, and sold one in 2005. Then another, then another.

But that novel was like an itch I just couldn't scratch. I wrote the sequel to the flogged horse, and queried it. Finishing another novel was just as big a surprise as finishing the first one. Started querying it in 2008. Then I got bored. Wrote a completely new project--wow I wrote another novel! Queried it until 2011.

By this time, finishing a first draft should not have surprised me, but I just finished the first draft of the third Imogene Duckworthy book. It's terrible (it's a first draft), but it's there!

All of this is to point out how surprising it is to be able to write a whole book, even if it's just the first draft. And I know the first draft is a baby step--there's a long ways to go after this. But I can't go there until the dreaded FD is done, and it is!

Only other writers know what a celebration this calls for. And now, excuse me, I have celebrating to do. Then pages to edit.

Here are some thoughts I found on first drafts:
This one is on what it feels like to finish that first draft
This post lets you know what you're in for if you've not gotten beyond that first draft stage yet
And how hard is it to finish that first draft?
Finally, some concrete tips on what to do with that first draft, if you're at sea at that point

Happy first drafts to everyone who isn't there yet! Whether it's your first project or your tenth.


  1. I'm currently in my umpteenth re-write of my WIP. Hopefully the last. I'm eager to move on to another story just to enjoy the high of completing that first draft.

    Congratulations on finishing yours.

  2. LD, a novel, like a painting or a piece of music, is never "done". You just have to quit at some point! Stifle that inner-editor to get to the end. I put a mark, XXX, in the places I know I'll need to redo, as I'm doing the first draft.

  3. Congrats on that draft! It is an amazing feeling to actually get the whole story down on paper, no matter how much fixing you know it's going to need.

  4. Kudos! You can't get published if you don't write a book, and you can't write a book until you write a lousy first draft. Upward and onward.

  5. Thanks for the congrats, LD, Edith, and Ramona! If only I had the time right away to dive back in. But maybe it's better I let it sit, pack up the house and move, then see what it looks like. Hope I'm pleasantly surprised. :)

  6. Hooray! Congrats and I hope you are celebrating right now.