Finishing First Draft Blues

Yesterday I finished the first draft of my novel. It’s about 60k words long and it is brilliant and awful.

I know myself well enough to predict that I am someone who ‘edits up’. That’s to say, my 60k will probably turn into 80k or 90k by the time I’m through editing it.

Getting the story out is the most important thing. I can pretty it up later.

As a reward I drank a bottle of wine and then cracked open the scotch.

This morning I have a hangover (familiar) and an empty feeling in my stomach (unfamiliar).

Of all the ‘advice’ I’ve stumbled across in my journey so far, I have been almost unanimously told to put my first draft in a drawer for a while before editing it.

So tomorrow I’m going to Ibiza for 10 days. Initially invited for a wedding, the trip evolved into a full blown holiday. The last time I had one of those was October 2013.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some pill-popping Guetta lover. I’m 34 and I listen to Lou Reed and I have never been in the sea. I had to buy shorts especially for the occasion and I’ve a suitcase full of factor 60. I don’t even own a hat, so my wife has kindly lent me her Britney Spears baseball cap that reads “WORK BITCH” across the top. I will sport it out of pride and the fear of burning my scalp under the Balearic sun.

But it’ll be a well-earned rest from work and writing. I suppose.

I’ll miss the characters and being in that little dream world I’ve managed to sculpt into something vaguely coherent, but hopefully I’ll come back to it with fresh eyes and a clear brain. I guess you can never be objective about your own work, but some distance does seem like a good idea, no matter how heart wrenching it is to say goodbye to the characters for a while.

And I have some light, beach reading to keep me occupied…

FullSizeRender BSJ

I should feel happier than I am, but I’m just plain sad that this part’s over. It’s been frustrating at times, but never unfulfilling.

Anyway, whatever…Boo hoo etc. I’m sure I will get over it.

I’m off to get mashed with Ed Miliband at Space.

9 comments

    1. Cheers Sidra! I’ll pop some snippets and things up later, but right now it’s all about making sure it’s as good as it can be.
      Making my way through your blog – like it very much!
      All the best,
      Jack

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    1. Quite honestly, I haven’t decided yet. My gut is telling me to cut out the BS and do it on my own. I used to be in the music business and sometimes record labels only hindered the performance of the artist. I suspect publishing houses can be much the same. Great if you’re at the top of the roster; terrible if you aren’t. But I have the finish the thing first!

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      1. I understand getting the thing done, I have work in progress myself. I’ve just been trying to decide which route to take, and more and more I lean toward publishing it myself.

        Dean Wesley Smith and Kristen Kathryn Rusch’s blogs on the business side of writing echo your comments about the record industry, as you said great if you’re an NYT bestseller but not so much if you’re a new writer.

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      2. Exactly. That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider it, but getting it right is more important to me than the prestige of being backed by a large publishing house. I think the one thing to remember if you self-publish is that you need to deliver a quality product. You might have written the next Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but if it’s riddled with typos, the format is all over the place and the front cover is crap, no one will read it. I’m actually really looking forward to chucking it at an editor and saying ‘Do you best with that, kiddo.’

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  1. I like your writing style. It’s very funny, without trying to be. I can tell you now, that when I finish my first draft, I’m also going to crack open a red wine. By that stage, I’ll probably need a drink anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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