In November, as part of NaNoWriMo, I wrote my first rough draft of my first novel. It was a whirlwind of a month, but at the end, I learned it wasn’t hard to put words on a page every day and watch them multiply.
I had my mom print out the rough draft for me, and Mark and I drilled three holes along its left side and threaded it with string. We didn’t have a three-hole punch. The weight of it in my hand thrilled me, and yet, I still needed space from it. I started without much of a plot, and now that a draft was finished, I needed room. I didn’t touch it for months.
Then, one day, I decided I was ready to read it. I was surprised and pleased to find that while there were many plot holes and much room for improvement, it wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t a lost cause. There was a story there, and with sharpening it will get better.
So with a purple pen I slashed portions and corrected grammar, marking where things were awkward and where the timeline was erratic. (The timeline is one of my story’s major problems.) Then I took that hard copy draft and made the changes in my computer. Today I finished that step, the easiest step of all most likely. Now I must move on to the next phase.
I don’t know exactly how to proceed from here. I’ve made notes, and I’ll address those thing first. I want to play up certain parts of the story that I simply glossed over during the first draft. Then I guess I’ll work out the timeline and do some rearranging. Once the pieces are shifted and more neatly aligned, I’ll have a few people close to me read the beast and give me feedback. This step is already causing me slight panic, but it’s a necessary step, I know. I also know these people will be gentle with me, and I know they’ll provide insight that I’m blinded to.
At first it seemed like an impossible task, but the more tiny bites I take out of it, the more accessible it becomes. I plan to have the book complete before our baby comes in October. Time to get to work!