Friday, 21 February 2014

The 1st Draft is Done!

Yes, the 1st draft of the novella is now complete.

While I've completed short stories and flash fiction, I've never actually completed one longer piece of work...

I actually started this first draft in June 2011. But there was a big break in there while I was getting over the bus accident, so I've only been working on it intensively for the last 12-15 months.

Obviously putting the word count on my blog has kept me in line!

It's also been a learning experience. Previously, I'd tried to do too much at once with my other longer projects, so thought I'd try the general planning and skeleton 1st draft approach.

It worked for me.

I did character sheets for my main characters - but I've discovered more about them during the writing process too.

Each chapter had a general outline, so I knew where I thought incidents and important events occurred- even then I found that a few things changed order, or I needed an extra chapter here and there for scenes I hadn't foreseen, but realised I needed.

As I went along I made a note of anything I needed to research, or query for the correct term, descriptions, or form of address.

And I went through doubts about my abilities - and sanity!

Yesterday (Thursday) I finished my first draft at 29,005 words in 17 chapters.

The same day I received the answers from the official office that deals with Baronetcy's. It's taken a while because it seems everyone understood their place in the inheritance stakes in the early 19th century (when the novella is set) so my questions had to be referred up to someone else who knew the definitive answers- the Garter King of Arms.

(I may tell you about the Baronetcy system another time.)

The good news, is that I won't need to make big changes to the plot/sub-plot.

The bad news is that I have to provide my antagonist with another reason/s for what he does. But I can think of a few things that would qualify in Edward's case...

Otherwise it's minor adjustments in certain scenes.

Next I need to go through and list the research points/queries, so I have everything I need to know for the 2nd draft...

I'm going to have a short break from the novella while I get on with sending out a few short stories- they just need minor revisions, but have been waiting long enough.

Also it's the Romance Trophy competition at the writers' club this year, so I have a synopsis and first three chapters of another romance to get on with for that- the deadline is the end of June.

Now I now know what works for me:

  • Writing for an hour, three hours or anything in-between for as many days as I can each week.
  • Not worrying if something isn't quite right, or I don't know the answer to my query immediately.
  • Listening to my characters and what's working well - and what is never going to work.

Fingers crossed for the next draft...


Teresa Ashby said...

Congratulations, Carol - I think that first draft is the most difficult part. Sounds good to let it rest for a while before going back to it x

Rena George said...

It's a great feeling finishing that first draft, Carol, isn't it. Well done.

Patsy said...

Congratulations on finishing the first draft, Carol.

liz young said...

Well done, Carol. Getting the first draft under your belt is a great achievement, and doesn't it feel wonderful? If my experience is anything to go by you have several more drafts ahead before you're satisfied.

Keith Havers said...

Congratulations on getting this far, Carol.

Carolb said...

Thanks, Teresa. :-)

I need to let my brain work on the bits I need to adjust, before I start the revisions.

Carolb said...

You're right, Rena, it is a great feeling.

And knowing I can do it, makes me more confident about eventually having a finished novella.

Carolb said...

Thanks, Patsy.

Good luck with your latest novel in progress. :)

Carolb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolb said...

Thanks, Keith. :)

Carolb said...

Spelling error in that first comment to you, Lizy. Should have said:

Thanks, Lizy. I'm still amazed I've done it! :D

Yes, I think there'll be a few more drafts to come.

Jan Baynham said...

Congratulations on your first draft, Carol. You've got some good advice in your blog and I shall give the word count idea a go. I've worked out a rough outline of chapters but don't stick at the actual writing enough because I keep getting distracted by short stories!

Carolb said...

Thanks, Jan.

At least if you have a rough outline, you can make progress- you're never faced with a blank page. Good luck with the word count system- hope it works for you.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Well done on completing that difficult first draft, Carol! I always prefer the editing stage.

Carolb said...

Thanks, Rosemary.

Yes, editing is like building and decorating an elaborate cake, but without the first draft- the basic cake, you can't do anything. :)