Well, I did it! I finished the first draft of Harvest. It clocks in at 54,000 words and 284 double-spaced pages. I’m proud and ready to begin rewrites that bring it to publication-ready.
This is my first novel. I’ve learned in this process that determination and forcing yourself to sit down and write is the most important practice in achieving any writing goal. You can putz around until you feel like writing, but the dangerous part of that is that if you give yourself permission once to slack off, it becomes a lot easier to make it into a habit.
As I write this, the entire state line is under a tornado watch for the evening. By the end of the night, my house could be gone. This is unlikely but possible. One thing that is also unlikely but possible is that I let the accomplishment of finishing a full draft put it in my head that I’m done. If anyone has some novel revision tips, I’d appreciate them. Do you rewrite scenes from scratch? Keep the part you like and rework everything before and after? When do you know it’s time to focus on the mechanical aspects of the story (grammar, commas, sentence structure, etc.)?
I will say that I’m thankful for the first readers I have in place so far. My friend and roommate Fallon read my novel in one day. Just having someone take the time to read my first novel, even in its earliest draft, means a lot when I’ve invested so much time in it. Receiving honest feedback and hearing their reactions to pivotal plot points makes it even better. I got to see and hear someone’s initial impression of my entire story. I’ll be honest, hearing that Fallon couldn’t put the book down when she reached the climactic final battle gave me an ego boost.
Now, I’m excited to hear others’ reactions to the story. I want to read through it once by myself and begin my own determined rewrites before factoring others’ questions and confusions into the mix.
In all, it still feels unreal that I drafted a book. My first book. The process was a process, but I’m happy with the initial outcome and am excited to see how it evolves into a final product ready for print. Anyone out there hoping to write their first book, I want to tell you to go for it. Work on it a little every day. Take the large project and break it down into manageable, achievable goals. At the end of the day, if you want to write, write. And have fun with it!