1. Emmy
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    Emmy Member

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    A finished first draft

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Emmy, May 7, 2009.

    I've completed my first draft...finally. It's 103,500 words and I'm very pleased with it. It's raw, no doubt, and loads of work still awaits me. Or as Hemingway said, "The first draft of anything is sh*t."

    Taking another's advice, I decided to take a week off from it, and "rest" my brain before I dig back in on Monday.

    I'm kinda torn on how I feel about this first draft. On the one hand, I'm entirely pleased for having finished a story, start to finish, and as lengthy as this one is. It's my first ever, and I feel like a small mini-break is due. A part of me wants to luxuriate in the feeling of accomplishment.

    On the other hand, I feel like I left out some important pieces, I'm anxious to get to editing, and I'm fighting every hour of not going back. It's just pure torture to let it sit when I want to work on it...I just don't want to rush it, either.

    No real point here, just needed to whine to people who understand. My very patient and understanding husband wanted to take my draft with him to work to keep me away from it, citing that I needed to rest. I threw a holy fit and he didn't take it...but now I see why he wanted to. I'm dying to get back to work.

    How do you deal with your first drafts?
     
  2. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Last novel I used an approach that seems to be working for me nicely.

    I gave the unedited draft to the English teacher in my school. For a bottle of whisky, he picks out all technical errors (typos, grammar and such).

    After correcting those mistakes I give it to a few chosen friends for a more artistic read.

    The ideas generated from those conversations are brought with me into my edit.
     
  3. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you feel like you've left out important bits but still got to the end of the story without confusing yourself, it's not that much of an issue. Go back just to be sure, but if you can't find anything, don't worry.

    Congratulations on getting your first draft done. I remember when I completed my first draft...I'm now onto my third. Don't be in a rush to start again, it doesn't get any easier unless you're doing something wrong :rolleyes:
     
  4. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    if you want to go back and edit it now, just go for it girl, but don't over do it as you will quickly get tired and just leave it
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm very concerned on your behalf about what you said... it's that there seems to be only one draft of all that work and it's only on paper... did you not write this on the computer and save the file there, and/or on a flash drive, or cd, or diskette?...
     
  6. Majesty Apollo
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    Majesty Apollo Member

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    A certain scene of Misery comes to mind.

    Get another copy made, pronto!
     
  7. Emmy
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    Emmy Member

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    Oh no! No, no, no, no....sorry to give that impression - no, I have a saved file in a reliable place, not to mention, a printed version, and a version saved on my mac.

    I was speaking in general terms - my "first" draft, meaning, the completed version of my story - the first one, anyway. :)

    Hubbie wanted to take my printed version with him to work, thinking I wouldn't work on my mac, I guess.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whew!
     
  9. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I remember completing my first draft like it was yesterday.

    Actually it was last week. 199 000 words...

    My plan was to take a few months off and do a whole lot of reading, so I can have several of those moments when I come across a scene and go, "Ah, this is a much better way to describe that part of my book."

    Now that I've got the plot set, it makes it far easier to draw the relevant techniques from other books.

    However that plan didn't work. I started editing two days after I finished the draft, and it astounds me as to how inept my writing is in my first few chapters. It's like reading somebody elses work.

    If you're really all enthusiastic about editing your work now, just do it, because you never know when that zeal may just wane. In a few months, you might not have the passion that you have now...

    I'll ride on mine all the way to 200 000.
     
  10. Nikita88
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    Nikita88 Member

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    Congrats! That's so exciting to have finished a whole draft :) First drafts of individual chapters are stressful enough for me - at least with those you can move on and start writing the next chapter until you feel like going back to edit. Waiting must be so so so annoying/frustrating, I could never do it! But on the other hand, if you wait a bit and give it some fresh perspective that would be better. Ahh... writing.

    Congrats again though! What's the plot?
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i hope you'll be doing lots of paring down on the next go-'round, 'cause that's double the size publishers will look at, as a first novel from a new, unknown writer... but congrats on finishing...
     
  12. Pliny
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    Pliny Member

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    That person's advice is obviously bad. If you want to write, write!
     
  13. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    I completed my first draft last fall. I'm now on my.. 4th or 5th? lol I'm not even sure anymore.

    It is quite the feeling of accomplishment eh? :) I know the feeling, I was way proud of myself.

    If it were me I wouldn't take a week off. I mean, if you want to take time off do it, but don't do it because you're supposed to or anything. The good thing(IMO) about writing a long book is usually you were spending most of your time working on the end of the book before finishing the first draft. So when you go back and look at the beginning and start to do re-writes, it's still fresh in your mind if you haven't worked on that part in awhile.
     
  14. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    Congrats on finishing it. I am close to finishing my first draft of the first novel i have written. I am slow to finish because i have spent so much time on it, it almost seems depressing. But after i finish my first draft i plan to have several people read it and give me their thoughts on it. Then i will go from there, dissecting all of it piece by piece.
     
  15. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yip, did end up rather lengthy, but its a fantasy novel, with multiple character viewpoints. And at 200 000 its not what you would imagine. This isn't your typical long-winded epic fantasy novel. In fact, most of the book takes place over a single day.

    I haven't read a book in this genre that's similar to what I've written, which probably means the chance of getting it published is next to nothing, even without the high word count.

    I do have a plan though. This book is just the first( its actually half the book I set out to write would you believe it) in a projected series of four. If I finish say the first three and then submit all of them to a publisher, it might better my chances.

    Is that a wise approach?
     
  16. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Sounds like Ulysses, but fantasy. Which is a pretty massive comparison to live up to. But if you present a novel that long about a single day, the comparison will be made. Hope you're up to it :D
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's nothing wrong with overwriting for your own pleasure... but if you want to sell, you must write what publishers buy... and i doubt any would buy a ms that's double the size they say they want...

    joker...
    since it's fantasy, you can probably get away with submitting 120k, and with a few publishers, maybe even up to 150, but 200 is still way over what a new writer can get away with... especially if it's all taking place in a single day!

    as for submitting more than one ms at the same time, i can almost guarantee you that nobody will accept more than one at a time and even if you just query about a series and not only the first stand alone book, you'll most likely get nothing but rejections, if they even bother to reply...

    no one buys a series from a new writer, whose first book they can't be sure will even sell well enough to cover their investment... so, if you want to have the best chance to sell it, make that first one as marketable as you can, which means getting it down to a size that they'll take seriously... it's ok to say it's the first of a series you have 'in the works' but be sure to show it'll sell on its own...

    good luck... hugs, m
     
  18. Pliny
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    That's more like the least wise approach. What you need to do if you're very serious about publication is this: cut a lot of the content down, by ranking it based on what directly furthers the plot, and what's more aesthetically valuable. Aim for 70k-90k words; that's generally the maximum any publisher will accept in a single submission. That, or only submit three chapters or so to gauge interest, and be sure to include a note that it's a very long manuscript. When publishers regard unknown authors, they can't be sure of consistency or longterm value; will you even write that second book of four that you're considering? They can't know that, so they'll generally assume the worst.

    Before anything, get it down to a tight second or third draft. Put it forward to editors like me, and promise me royalties should the book become a success. :D

    The point is, 200,000 won't be accepted by any serious publisher. If you could even find two solid ending points and split the first draft itself into a trilogy (the first of two trilogies, since the math works out nicely), you'd have the desired word length for each, and still keep the majority of your content before professional editing comes along and makes you want to /wrist and die.

    Good luck fella. :p
     
  19. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for all the advice.

    After reading your replies, I've come to one conclusion. My story's just too big for a first novel. There's too many characters and too many events that need to happen. To be honest the current ending isn't even a solid one since its already part of a split, so the chances of finding a conclusion in the middle of this book are remote.

    I think I've got a new plan, the only one that seems feasible. In order to get this book published I must veer from it, and write a completely different stand alone book thats under 100k, and I need to make so mind-blowingly brilliant that it actually gets published.:D

    Then I'll cease being a unknown, beginner writer, and that'll change the limitations of a new submission.

    Time to get crackin, this new book will be a lottery ticket that takes a year to fill.

    The sacrifices I make for my 200k story...
     
  20. Emmy
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    Emmy Member

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    Wow - I apparently got the wrong scoop; I was under the impression that for a published adult fictional novel, 90 - 100k words was the norm.

    ?
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're about right in re submissions, emmy... the most often preferred range nowadays, for a first novel by a new, unknown writer is 80-100k... under 80k wouldn't be considered by most publishers, if it's for the adult market...

    but the average size of published novels by more seasoned writers is somewhat higher... and all novels are 'fictional'... if a book is not fiction, then it's not a novel, but a 'non-fiction' book that might be a 'memoir'; 'true crime'; 'how-to'; 'self-help' or so on...
     

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