What comes after “The End” of the book?
I finished my first draft in December, determined to have it completed by the end of last year. I started writing it in July and was about 10,000 words from my goal for two months. I didn’t want to finish it, too scared to learn what happens next.
See, this is my first ever completed novel length manuscript first draft. I can admit as much as I want to write books, it is very nerve-wracking to be at the end. Is the writing any good? Did I tell enough story? Are my characters believable? Is the plot outrageous? I had a million questions.
Now, as most writers know, of course it’s terrible.
It’s a first draft!
As I started reading through it in the middle of January, as I started marking errors and phrases and plot points that needed to be changed (my MC’s parents died at four different ages in the first 50 pages—not a spoiler, by the way), I realized it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. It needs a lot of work, and I definitely have a few more plot points to work out, but there are some nice quality scenes in there, too.
I finished reading through the draft this week, and am letting it percolate for another week or two. I have some more research and finetuning of my story’s timeline to do and will tackle that first, then I’ll move into reworking it to get my second draft. I can’t believe I can even say the words “my second draft” now.
When I quit working last May to write, I never expected to be here. I thought I would give up at the first hurdle, or the last 10,000 words. So actually writing “The End” was amazing. This story has been itching to get out since I was in high school (but I’m not telling you how long ago that is). And now that it’s out, I feel incredible. I can’t wait until the written story matches the vision I have for it in my head. Right now, it’s the bare bones of what I’m imagining. But I think they’re good bones.
I think I know what happens now. I’ll rewrite and edit, and rewrite, research, and edit, and rewrite until I have a book that I feel is the best book it can be. And at some point I’ll let another person read it. It may never be published. It may sit in a drawer for years. It may get picked up immediately (though that’s highly unlikely). Maybe no one will ever read it (except my first reader, who was thrilled to be chosen).
But for now, I’ll celebrate the first milestone in my professional writing life: completing a first draft. Come celebrate with me? I have coffee.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.