Tuesday, December 23, 2014

That Time I Finished My First Draft

Now what? After close to a year of living and breathing with these characters, I have finally finished the first draft of my (spoilers ahead) Young Adult, SciFi novel. At just under 65K words, I feel pretty good. From what I know, that's pretty much the "sweet-spot" for word count when it comes to YA SciFi, and I didn't even try to hit it. I wasn't constantly checking my WC, it's just where the story ended. I let it happen. Organically as they say. Throughout the process, people told me to "just finish it" and to "just get it done". Well... I did that. I kept on, even when I wanted to stop keeping on, and I finished. It wasn't always pretty (often wasn't), but the story is down, ready to be molded into something much more. It feels great.

Now what?

I've read a lot of articles, many from published authors, regarding this very topic. Almost all of them suggest that the best thing to do is to step away from your WIP for a month or two, maybe more, and then return to your baby with fresh eyes. It'll be as if you're reading it for the first time, they say. Honestly, that sounds a helluva lot easier than I know it'll be.

I've been with this thing almost every day since about this time last year. I've done a fantastic job making it a part of my daily routine. Even if I was only able to write for five minutes on a given day, I would make sure it'd happen. On the busiest of busy days, I'd find time. So, what now? Just step away? I can't imagine anything more difficult for a creature of habit like myself. It's become an ingrained routine.

What if I step away and then can't find my way back? It's a legitimate concern. Am I the only one who has thought of this? What if I lose my touch, man?

What if I'm forever remembered as "That-Guy-Who-Wrote-a-First-Draft-and-Then-Never-Got-Back-to-It?"

I don't think I'd ever be able to forgive myself.

BUT, I will step aside. I will heed your wonderful advice, oh wise authors of books past. I will try and do something else.

I'll let you know how successful this all is. If I was a betting man... I'd give me a week. I should be able to stay away from it at least that long, right?


Find me on twitter, sharing my experiences writing my book, @RimerTom

Monday, December 8, 2014

That Time I Passed 50,000 Words

It finally happened. That elusive 50,000 word marker that seemed to be miles away when I started writing this thing, is finally here. I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo, mind you, but 50,000 words is still a huge checkpoint along my way to finished manuscript-dom. If you remember correctly, I took almost the entire summer, and most of the fall, off from my novel. I returned to it very recently with a second wind. A fresh set of lungs.

I read a quote recently... and I can't remember it verbatim or track it down anywhere... but it went something like this: Writing a first draft is a lot like tossing a bunch of sand into a pile, so that you can build sandcastles later on. I have no earthly idea who said that (probably some crazy person) but it really resonated with me. So much of what I'm doing right now is just getting the story down, making sure things happen when they're supposed to and that characters are in position, when they're supposed to be in position... saving the day whenever it is they're supposed to be saving the day. That kind of thing. My daily routine is always to re-read whatever chapter I was working on the previous day, just to get back into the story, only stopping along the way for minor edits to said chapter. Then I move the story forward. That's my mantra with this first draft. Get it down. Get it down. Get it down.

Okay. So, here's my "pile of sand":
Annnd, here's my "sand-castle":
No wait... that's not right. HERE is my "sand-castle":
Better. Probably not quite that old, though. That' s a really old book right there.

Still lots to write, but I'm making progress. I actually just passed 51,000 words if we want to get technical. 37 chapters, out of a probable 49 or 50, done. 200+ pages. Not too shabby, Tommy. Not too shabby. 
Please keep checking back for more updates and find me doing the Twitter thang @RimerTom