Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Guess what I did?

Guess what you guys, I did it! Yesterday I finished my first ever first draft of a full length novel, (66,000 words counts as full length for YA, right?). The only thing I've managed before this was something that was supposed to be a novel but is complete at 36,000 words so I'm very happy.

I know the more experienced among you are probably grinning to yourselves and thinking, 'yeah, that was the easy part kid'. (I'm not sure why I imagine any of you would call me 'kid' but let's go with it). I expect that revising this novel will be tough, not just because of all the things I'll discover when I read it through, but because of the things I already know need fixing, due to me changing my mind as I was writing it and not going back to edit it. I have nine pages of notes that say things like 'Sam's broken leg in ch 11 is now a sprained ankle' and 'Glenda isn't needed, take her out and turn her son into one of Lola's mates'. My MC's Mother died and came back to life on four separate occasions (and no, this isn't supernatural!).

My favourite change will be the title. I gave this book a working title of 'Joe and the Angels'. Yes, I know it's rubbish but I had to call the files something. The only thing is there are no longer any Angels in it and he isn't called Joe. Other than that, the title rocks :)

I had to change my MC's name because I imagined Joe as a particular boy who had some very specific experiences and talents. He's changed beyond all recognition but I know that one day I'll want to go back and try again to write the story of my 'ordinary Joe'. I can't imagine him being called anything else, so this Joe is now Jamie.

Do I think this story is good? Yes I do. Do I think it will be the one that makes me a published author? Probably not, but that won't stop me doing my very best with it, and making it the best YA thriller that I can.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, writing a first draft (especially for the first time) isn't that big a deal, but to me personally it is. It's a sign that I believe in myself, that I think I'm worth taking seriously enough to actually make the time to sit and do this every day. Whether I still think that after a few weeks of revisions is another story, but for now it's a good feeling.

I'm going to take a few days off and read a book called Radix by A.A. Attanasio. It's something that Techno has been urging me to read since I first met him, and promises to be a very strange experience! After that, I'll start writing something else and in a few weeks time I'll start revisions on my first ever novel. I love saying that :)

P.S I forgot to add that I had to write quite an emotional part in the last chapter, and I made myself cry! How weird is that?


  1. Well done for finishing. Enjoy the break. I actually prefer the second draft to the first - all the bones are there and the shape will form from now on. Reading back all the continuity errors can be amusing too, as you've already found.

    Well done, again!

  2. Congratulations on your first ever first draft!

  3. WOO-HOO! Congratulations! Finishing a novel is huge. A very small percentage of people who start writing novels ever make it to this point, so give yourself a big pat on the back. :)

  4. Sarah - Well done you! I'm very, very happy that you've finished your novel, and I know it's going to be great!

  5. Congratulations!! Whatever happens, you should feel proud that you had the focus, discipline, and perseverence to write an entire book. That is quite an accomplishment. Most people don't get that far. So enjoy it! Because revision is the tough part IMHO.

  6. No way was that the easy part. And that is why it is so commendable. A huge congratulations to you for reaching this point. Definitely raising my coffee cup in a toast to your manuscript ... Cheers :)

  7. Good on you for it, hope you can get it published.

  8. Annalisa - Thanks. I'm itching to get started on the revisions but I'm forcing myself to wait.

    Patsy - Thank you kindly!

    Linda - Thanks, I will :)

    Margot - I read your comment to Techno. He asked how you knew, I said it was because you are clever :)

    Phil - Thanks. I did feel proud, and then I felt stupid because it's such a small step to get proud about, but now I feel proud again!

    Joanne - I'm clinking coffee cups with you :)

    Rehan - Welcome to you, and thank you.

  9. Congratulations! I love this post - it's the perfect encapsulation of a beginning writer with her head on straight. Good for you!

    And length is what you make of it. Lisa McMann's WAKE was originally only 33k (she had other credits and awards, but was still a debut novelist). My first drafts are never more than 60k (with the exception of HSL, but it's more epic in scope, having four narrators, so that was 75k.) Just a reminder, I suppose, that nothing is set in stone about this business.

    Chin up, kid, and onward. :)

  10. Aw, what a wonderful feeling to have finished! And even better, to be that emotionally attached to the characters that you cried. That's fantastic -- CONGRATS!

  11. Congratulations! That's a huge accomplishment.
    You can't win the lottery if you don't have a ticket.
    Sounds like you now have a ticket.

  12. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! It's nice to meet you! I enjoy reading your blog.

    If you need help with a new title for your YA manuscript, drop me an email with a synopsis. I'll be glad to try to suggest a title!

  13. Congratulations. I remember when I put that last word down on my first novel. It was a good feeling, but not as good as when I finally had it published and the little units sold number changed from 0 to 1.

    It sounds like you might benefit from an outline so you can avoid having people come back from the dead and broken bones are suddenly healed. 9 pages of notes that need to be corrected sounds like you may end up rewriting the whole novel before its done.

  14. Congrats for finishing! Your first real draft of is a huge accomplishment, and something you currently have over me, but I'll get there eventually. Yea Sarah!

  15. Jess - Thank you and welcome. You already know I'm looking forward to HSL :)

    Talli - I suppose I should be honest and admit I'm a pretty easy crier!

    Life 101 - Thank you for visiting, and I love the comparison :)

    Lauren - Thank you and welcome to you. If I haven't come up with something I like by the time it's revised, I'll take you up on your offer!

    SB - Welcome, fellow Day9 fan! I did actually have an outline to start with but I ...err...kind of strayed :)

    Jenny - Thank you for visiting, and I know you will. I think just starting your blog will help. Also, I know you're doing MYWYN. Keep up the good work :)

  16. What an uplifting post! Yay for finishing - it really does feel great, despite everything that comes next. Your enthusiasm is inspiring!

    I've made myself cry too - I think it's the sensitive artist within, lol!

  17. congratulations! I remember the first time I wrote THE END I was on a week long natural high that lasted all the way through revisions up until, well, my first rejection:) Revel in the feeling and GOod luck!

  18. Margo - I like the explanation that I'm a sensitive artist better than the family one which is that I'm a big wuss :)

    CQG - I'll hang on to this feeling as long as I can!

  19. Ooooh, congratulations! That is the BEST FEELING. Also: you are not alone. I totally sobbed intermittently through the last 20,000 words of my first novel. XD I think it makes for better writing anyway! If you're not emotional, how can you expect readers to be? :P

  20. My first ever first draft was only 30,236 words, but that was as long as it needed to be at the time. It has since expanded past 45k and it is highly probable that it will grow even longer in the future. Size doesn't always matter. :)

    And Whoooo!

  21. Brooke - I keep telling myself that :-)


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