Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Draft Complete and I Feel Good!

Yep, it's done. I have a first draft. I honestly had begun to think hell was going to freeze over (or the ice caps melt) before I had a manuscript to work with. When I typed the last sentence, I had tears in my eyes. Could have been the story's ending, I suppose, but I'm more inclined to think it was the relief of knowing the biggest part of the battle was over.

I'm not sure why it was such a battle. I liked the story idea and I loved my characters, but 30,000 words into the novel I junked 15,000 words and started over. Then other things happened and I lost momentum again and again. I feel as though I pulled this manuscript through a tiny knothole word-by-word.

Altogether, I have written the first drafts of six novels. Number one, The Troubleshooter, which I wrote with my brother, was revised several times and finally released as an audiobook. That manuscript has potential as a mystery if I go back and work on it some more.

First draft number two is romantic suspense, tentatively called Against Her Better Judgment. I started to revise it once, but abandoned it to write novel number three. Number two is still sitting on a nearby shelf, its pages somewhat yellowed with age, patiently waiting until I give it another try.

That number three novel, the mystery The Prairie Grass Murders, was published in hardcover by Five Star, as an audiobook by Books in Motion, and releases in paperback from Harlequin Worldwide on February 1st (eeks, that's tomorrow).

Novel number four, The Desert Hedge Murders, was released in hardcover in August 2009 by Five Star and is scheduled for a September release in paperback by Harlequin Worldwide. I haven't heard from Books in Motion yet, so no audiobook.

My fifth novel, Wishing Caswell Dead, is waiting for revisions. I'm deciding if I want to do a drastic rewrite to change from multiple point of view to a main character first-person point of view.

And number six (known as the untitled Lynnette suspense novel) is the first draft I finished this weekend. I'm going to let it rest for two weeks while I catch up on my To Do List. Then I will begin revising. I'll have a stack of notes from my critique group for the first thirteen chapters, so I'll go through those first. Then I'll do a complete read from the monitor, fixing mistakes as I go. I'll also mark places that need an expanded description, an added scene, or historical information to enhance the plot. I'll go back and make those changes, and then I'll print out the complete manuscript so I can do a full silent read from paper, followed by a full read out loud.

Once I'm satisfied with the novel, the story arc, and the characters, I'll begin the self-editing process. I follow a "one step at a time" program I set up that addresses all of my weak points.

My goal is to finish all of those steps by March 26th. The Northern Colorado Writers Conference is March 26-27, and I have scheduled an agent pitch session for the 27th.

I'll be talking more about each of these steps in the revision and self-editing process as I go along. For now, please join me as I sing along with James Brown: I feel good. Dada dada dada dah. I knew that I would, now. Dada dada dada dah. :)

17 comments:

Kay said...

Congratulations. Now you have to get down to work. Have fun.

Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations and way to go. Time to do a little happy dance before the rest of the work begins.

Jemi Fraser said...

Wahooooooo!! Congrats! - enjoy the mini rest & the rest of the process :)

Jeanie said...

I am happy for you, Patricia. I will be interested in your descriptions of the rest of the process.

carolynyalin said...

Good job! You're up 6 to 1 on me :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Don't forget, Carolyn, my first two manuscripts were completed when I was in my 40s, and the last four in my 60s. You're just a kid, and you've finished your first novel much earlier than I finished my first. Using that measure, you're way ahead of me.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Congrats on finishing the draft!

I like to put the ms down for a couple of weeks, too. Unfortunately, I'm going to finish the draft too tight for time this time. Bleh. I'll try to take a couple of days off, though.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Ann said...

Oh my, well done. You deserve the break. Enjoy!!

Maggie said...

Good job, Pat:)
Maggie

Karen Walker said...

Woo hoo! Patricia, congrats. So happy for you. Enjoy your break.
karen

Carol Kilgore said...

Congratulations! I finished the first draft last week, too.

Alan Orloff said...

Congrats, Patricia! Enjoy your percolation period.

Marvin D Wilson said...

That's GOTTA feel good. Put onj some James Brown and dance a little! lol. And kudos to the winner - I didn't see a comment button on the top post so thought I'd mention it here. :)

The Old Silly

Maryann Miller said...

Congrats on typing The End. What a thrill that always is, although I'm not sure I agree that the hardest part is over. At least it isn't for me when I finish the first draft. I find the editing and rewriting to be more of a challenge. That's when I have to change the ordinary into something not so ordinary.

Jan Morrison said...

Yippee! Doesn' that just feel so good!!?? I know it does for me and I'm breathing down your neck - a simple thirty thou to go before my first draft is done. ha! I'll get there though, I'll get there. And I love the revisions and refining...

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm also fond of the revision and self-editing process. The hard part is knowing when to stop. I've seen a lot of posts on "How do I know when I'm done?" and it's a topic worthy of debate.

Michelle Mach said...

Congrats! Nothing like an agent appointment for a very motivating deadline! :)