Thoughts on revisiting my novel’s first draft:

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.

novel first draft

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.

10k words 25k words

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!

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5 Replies to “Thoughts on revisiting my novel’s first draft:”

  1. Congrats on getting the first draft done! That can be the biggest and hopefully most fun challenge, getting it all on paper. You’ll get it all sorted as you rework and revise and reshape 🙂 it’ll evolve and get better with each go. Happy writing!

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement! I’m an infrequent blogger and trying to become more frequent. I just followed your blog. 🙂 I have lots of work to do, and I need to focus on the FUN in each draft to keep moving forward. Cheers!

  2. Printing it out, 3-hole punching it, and admiring the weight in your hands is fun. Opening to the first page and stepping back in as a reader is scary as hell! Congrats on not only finishing the first draft (something very few do), but on having the courage to dive in head-second (purple pen first). I look forward to following your progress!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! It’s definitely scary as hell; much scarier than I thought it would be. I still feel unsure of exactly how to go about revising, but I’m hacking it up one section at a time. 😉 I read your novel Remnant last year after picking it up from East Side Story. Very engaging, and quite a page-turner!! A sequel is out – is that right? Congrats! I’ll have to pick it up soon. Cheers, fellow Nashvillian!

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