14 May 2010

Funny feelings about finishing my first draft

I finally finished one! It was a surprise to me that it would come this quickly -- I had set a deadline of a couple of weeks from now, but I got to what felt like the end of my novel yesterday. Ever since then, I've been mentally standing on a hilltop and shouting/singing for joy (which right now is taking the form of an Ok Go song: "Every day is the same, we're praying for rain." Ironic, in this coldest spring almost ever in these parts). I even did something funny and clever to end the story, and I was able to let go of putting all the comedy in to "git er dun," as the Florida handyman's truck boasts.

It feels amazing, and not amazing at all. Now that I've reached an ending (I'm not going to say THE end yet), I am trying to catch all the things I said I was putting in (foreshadowings, habits like doodling daisy chains, etc.), fix all the holes, weave the characters throughout, and so forth. I started all kinds of things, but none but her story got very far. But it's also a third-person limited perspective story; if my emcee can't see or perceive it, it's not in there. So I just have to take a whole bunch of these descriptions and fill them with dialogue and description instead of exposition. And I want to see her play with those good characters again -- she started some nice friendships with people who all come around for her big moments. But like thinning plants -- pulling out flourishing sprouts just so some of the other sprouts can turn into big, productive plants -- it feels odd to stop her story there when there's so much more that would happen for this person. Which could mean it's a series, but maybe not. I still have two other novels and a memoir to finish once I'm done with this one!

So to write this I have had to retreat, hole up and find my own story. Now, to flesh it out, I must get out there to live and listen, tune into what I hear in my head, and bring the story up to that standard. But it's good to know what it is like to finish a first draft! Hooray! And on with the second!

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