1. Preacher
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    Preacher Member

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    You have just finished the first draft of your novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Preacher, Mar 10, 2011.

    I have.

    A nice, tidy, 75,000 word novel and, I freely admit, I am feeling very pleased with myself.

    Is it marketable? Maybe, though it won't rock the literary world. I wrote it knowing that it might never see the light of day, but it was something I wanted to do.

    Here's the problem; I am not ready to begin reviewing, rewriting. It is all too new, too fresh. So what is a fellow to do?

    I wrote the novel fully intending to make it a trilogy, or even a series. I still have the characters and the extended plot rambling around in my brain.

    My sensible side says to put the next book on hold. Take a break if I need to, but do the grunt work and get the first one polished and complete.

    The creative side of me is telling the sensible side to take a long walk off a short pier.

    What would you do?

    Would you put the creative process on hold in the hopes that you can get the first one completed and sold?

    Would you throw caution to the wind and continue to work while the inspiration is there?
     
  2. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I would keep writing. I can re-write "cold," and I'm good at catching errors in spelling and grammar no matter what my mood. But I'm not nearly so good at writing from a cold start.

    Plus, if it's the first book of a trilogy, my guess is that publishers would be a lot more interested if the whole trilogy is finished. Not certain about that -- they may want you to write a stand alone, and then after they've bought that you can see if they're interested in a trilogy. But I'd still guess that a finished trilogy is worth a lot more than the first book only.

    Besides, it's good writing practice. You can spend a few weeks writing the next book and distancing yourself from the first book, so that when you finally get to editing the manuscript, it hurts less to cut or change things.

    Congratulations, by the way, and best of luck.
     
  3. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Congratulations, and welcome to a very small club!

    I don't know if there is a right or wrong answer to your question. Personally, I would finish the first novel. Then again, Heinleinfan raises some very good points, so, I don't know!

    Either way, congrats!
     
  4. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    I would go with whatever you are most inclined to do. If the ideas are flowing and you want to keep writing, it seems like a good idea to keep writing. I think you can jump back to editing and revising at any time. It seems possible that you could even do them simultaneously by writing when the creativity is flowing, and revising and editing on days you are feeling more technical. I'm no expert, but if I were in your situation, that would be my thinking. :) Congratulations for finishing!

    HeinleinFan brings up some points that I find interesting. The novel I'm working on is also a part of what will be a trilogy. I have been plugging along under the assumption that I would begin writing the second book while attempting to publish the first one. With trilogies, do you have to have all three done before attempting to publish?
     
  5. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    No, you can have one of the three done and try to publish.
     
  6. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    No, you don't. Publishers won't buy or contract an entire trilogy from a new writer. They want to see if the first one sells before they decide whether to publish more in the series. They might be happy to see that you have more books already written, but I doubt it would be a deciding factor in the publication of the first one.

    I would probably get my first book out and start trying to get it published while working on the second one.

    In my case, I started with the second book in my series...so it's going to be a while before I send anything out. :rolleyes:
     
  7. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Take a break from it if you like. Then go back and edit, and make it the best you can.

    Don't even mention trilogy if you submit to an agent or publisher.

    Congrats by the way on finishing your first draft.
     
  8. Spring Gem
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    Do this for several different reasons.
    1. Your story line may change during revision.
    2. You may never sell the first book, what are you going to do with the second book?
    3. If you sell the first book, the publisher's editor may want changes that will affect any future books.
    4. If you sell the first book, the publisher may not be interested in a series.

    My suggestion would be to revise/edit the first book to make it stand alone with foreshadowing that could be used in later books. In your query, don't mention it's part of a series. When you land an agent/publisher, then you mention the story has series potential. In the meantime, start a different unrelated project while you're shopping around the first book.
     
  9. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    I like to let a finished work mellow for a while before I start my revising/editing. Not long, just enough time to get a bit of distance from the story. When I finished my book I worked on some short stuff for a while, but if you have the drive to dive into the second book, go for it, but be aware that what has been stated above about the risk is all very true. I also agree that the first book should be able to stand alone.

    I'd also like to extend my hearty congratulations on getting the book written -- it's not an easy task.
     
  10. Preacher
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    Thanks for the replies, and the congratulations!

    You have raised some valid points, especially about the possibility of an editor wanting changes that effect the following books.

    Not sure what I am going to eventually end up doing, but I appreciate the input!
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    your sensible side makes good sense...

    agents/publishers don't want to see the words 'trilogy' or 'sequel' in a query... they only want to know you have a stand-alone novel that can sell well, whether or not any more may follow...
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I just don't understand this. "Polishing" your first draft is "grunt work"? Sheesh.

    My first drafts are generally lousy. Revising them is where the real creativity comes in! Revising is not "grunt work", it's the most creative work you'll do. Your first draft is for finding out what your book is about (some famous writer said that, not me), and your second draft is where you really bear down and get it written. Another famous writer said "all my thoughts are second thoughts", meaning that the real creative work is done in revision.

    Set your draft aside for a while - a month, maybe. Write some other things. When you come back to it, you'll probably see TONS of stuff that needs to be added or changed. If you don't, either you're a genius who gets it right the first time (very unlikely), or you're not reading it critically enough. Because almost nobody can write a great first draft.

    Revision is creative! It's not "grunt work"!
     
  13. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Grunt work, creativity, whatever you want to call it, every stage of the writing process is a long, tough grind. I don't know, I think grunt work is kind of a good way of describing all aspects of the writing process. It's a long and lonely road, and sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is going over the same piece you've been working on for months and even years. It isn't glamorous, and you have no guarantee that there will be any payoff at the end. Grunt work isn't far from the truth.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The OP was drawing a distinction between writing a first draft ("creative") and revising ("grunt work"). I was trying to point out that revising is EXTREMELY creative work, not "grunt work". (I assume that we all agree that "grunt work" is not creative work.)

    Of course, all stages of writing are tough. Writing something good takes a lot of work. I'm not arguing against that. I'm saying that ALL phases of writing are creative, and if a writer doesn't see that, then he has a lot to learn. I think a writer who approaches revision as a chore and not as an opportunity for new creativity is missing a huge part of the joy of the process of writing.
     
  15. Preacher
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    In my opinion: The editing process, unless you have an epiphany and rewrite part of the tale, is mostly spelling, grammar and agonizing over word choice. It is cerebral labor that engages the logical part of your brain. While there is a sense of satisfaction in polishing the work, it is, by and large, grunt work.

    Yes, I am quite aware that it needs to be done to turn out a polished project, but that doesn't mean that I simply must enjoy it as much as I do the writing.

    I am, and will probably always be, a stream of consciousness writer. I have a general outline in mind, but the pace of the story and the character development are determined when I actually set the words on the page. That process; that organic flow, is what I enjoy.

    Agree or disagree, it works for me.
     
  16. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Write the second, while you have the motivation.

    You may find that your story takes an unexpected twist in the second book, and you decide to link it when revising the first.
    I would give the first book some breathing space before you edit, it sounds like its too fresh and you are too close to it.
     

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