Two weeks ago today, I had a fabulous evening.
Late on that Friday afternoon, I typed the last word of the last sentence of the last chapter of my Work In Progress. It felt wonderful! What a sense of satisfaction filled me as I raised my glass of Cabernet and toasted to my awesomeness. What an accomplishment! I spent the rest of the evening, and well into the night, celebrating, mentally patting myself on the back and grinning like an idiot.
My euphoria lasted about as long as the hangover. Over the next couple of days as planned, I reviewed a few of the writing tips and tricks I had bookmarked for my upcoming revision and editing process, and I crashed back to sober reality. I realized there was still plenty of work ahead, and instinctively I know certain areas have to be improved, rearranged, and completely rewritten, and then there’s my iPad with an app full of collected notes, jockeying to make it into the finished product as well.
But that’s okay. Every writer knows the first rough draft is exactly that: a first run, a rough copy, and yes, some of it is just plain sh#t. But in among the steaming heaps that stank, I knew there were jewels just waiting to be polished, the little jewels that make it all worthwhile.
Here are three chief concepts I believe every writer, who truly wants to be a writer, needs to remember.
1. No one wants to read about a Goody Two Shoes. If I expect readers to keep turning the pages, my characters have to be flawed. Whether that makes you like them, or love to hate them, depends on the types of flaws they embody – and maybe it depends on the sort of person you are, and what types of characters you are drawn to and like to read about. As important as plot may be, really, it’s all about the characters.
2. If you aren’t having any fun while you write, I don’t know how you will ever make it as a writer. A writer writes because she wants to, she has to, regardless of recognition or book sales. The fulfillment is in the process. And it’s a hard process. The best piece of advice I read about writer’s block was to put the manuscript aside and try penning a poem, or exploring another creative endeavor.
3. You have to want to write another book as soon as you’re finished the one you are now writing. The sweet possibility of a sequel keeps whispering in my ear, and that excites me. If I do write a sequel, however, it doesn’t mean the first one will depend on it. The novel I’m writing now will be able to stand alone in its own right. Then there are the flashes of inspiration for other book ideas that come during my writing, to which I can refer and develop when needed.
I’m waiting another couple of weeks to give myself more objectivity, before I start revisions. In the meantime there are plenty of good books and other reading material that beg for my attention.
Then on to the Second Draft!
Please share your thoughts with me about your Work in Progress.
This guest post was contributed by Jennifer Kelland Perry. Jennifer is the author of the Calmer Girls Series, available on Amazon. This article was originally published on her blog here. Connect with Jennifer around the web on her Website, Twitter, and Goodreads page.
Those few weeks before tackling a second draft…? Bliss, basking in ignorance of all that we will find to be wrong with the first draft. Enjoy 🙂
I’d make it a month or two before you revise. Don’t know how long it took to write it but it makes a difference. If it took a year, you prolly already edited the copy as you went. If it took three months, then the copy needs help. Regardless, problems with the logic, the story, the plot, the arc won’t become evident until you get some real mental distance from the story.
Does feel great — having written. Better, I’d say than — having published. That part is more work that art.
About a month ago I finished my first draft of my work in progress, and I am already in the process of working on the second draft. A hangover is the perfect way to describe the feelings you have the next few days after finishing it, I was extremely giddy. You’re 100% right if you can’t have fun you’ll never make it as a writer, I love my story and my characters but most importantly I am having fun with the whole process.
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I finished writing a book a few months ago and put it away. I sometimes wonder if I should go back to it. However sometimes going back to it too soon can make you lose objectivity. Another story is in its third draft but still put away
I’m nearing the end of my first draft. Some good tips here.
I just finished my first draft and realised I’d written a few great subplots, but the main plot was completely missing! So I’ve dived into my sencond draft with barely time to come up for air. Maybe I’ll take a breather between drafts 2 and 3. Thanks for the encouraging article xx
Congratulations, what an awesome feeling. Good for you. Great advice, thanks for sharing
Great advice. I like #3; there’s always more to do for a passionate writer. Thanks for posting.
My favorite series are ones that each book stands alone on their own power, but together weave a larger world…connected but independent. Best of luck with the revision process, how exciting! 💞
Great article, flawed MCs are always good – if a character isn’t flawed in some way, they don’t really have a way to grow and change, which is so important.
Sometimes with all the extra that is pushed for authors, building a brand, a platform etc it can really suck the enjoyment out of everything. That’s why the writing itself always has to be fun, we can put the rest aside if needs be and just enjoy the writing