Sunday, June 24, 2012

Now What?

This weekend, I finished the first draft of my novel.  It's actually the first time I've finished a novel.  It's been slightly surreal to have reached my goal.  When it finally hit me, I was popping dance moves all around the house (please note, this is a fairly scary sight that no one should be subjected to).

Mid dance move, I told my husband to be.

His response?


I reminded him that I'd been working on this novel since February.

The next question, which I think I'll be hearing a lot of from my non-writing friends, "Are you going to publish it?"

I asked him if he wanted the long or short answer.  He chose the short, which I gave him (short answer was not now, by the way).  But I thought I would share the long version here on my blog.

For my writing friends.  You already know this story.  Many of you have done this dance already, so feel free to sit this one out.  But if you're interested in my plans for my book, feel free to keep reading.

So, now what?

Well, the first thing I'm going to do is lose my novel in a far corner of my hard drive and let it fester.  My plan is to leave it there for my entire summer vacation, while I work on my next book.  But why not take advantage of all that summer vacation I have and edit it then?  Because I'm too close to my writing right now.  While I know it's flawed, and could pinpoint some of the major problems, I know I can't see all of the flaws right now.

After that I'll do a second draft.  This will involve major overhauls to the work, deleting scenes, adding scenes.  I expect it'll be a bit grueling and frustrating at times.  But the novel needs it.  It's the revising that makes good writing (my students still don't believe me when I tell them this).

And then?  Then it'll be back into a corner for a few weeks (less than for the first time around) before I take it back out for a third edit.  My hope that this will be a smaller edit and revise.  Where I'll focus more on things like word choice and sentence structure.

By now, I'll bet my non-writing friends must be thinking, finally we're at the publishing stage!  Well, not quite.  The next step would be to get a beta reader.  This is someone who will read my story and look for plot, grammar, and any other issues they can find.

Which means, I would need to do more revisions.

And who knows after that.  Maybe I'll be done editing and revising then.  Maybe not.  It's quite the process, isn't it?

But finally, after all that, then I would start trying to get it published.  Which is a whole other journey and will require a whole other post because this one has gotten a bit long.  For the short answer to what happens after the editing and revising happens, it's a sad, sad story of hope, determination, and rejection...lots and lots of rejection.

That's it for now.  I'm about to catch a plane to Canada! 


  1. Oh, I totally understand that! Non-writers think you do that first draft, snap your fingers and voila, it sits in a bookstore published and ready to be read :)

    Congrats again though on finishing, have fun in Canada!

  2. You're right. Take a step away from your work before you start editing. I made the mistake once to start editing right away, and the result is that you have to edit twice as much and it takes twice as long - because first time around, you still think your book is "perfect". Hah. At least, it was like that for me. Now I tend to wait a few weeks, if not months, before I go through edits.