After finishing the first draft of my second in the wee hours of Tuesday morning last week, I told myself to take at least the rest of the day away from the manuscript. I was successful. Mostly.
I didn’t look at the manuscript but I was thinking about it. Four hours of sleep doesn’t make you lucid enough to think about your writing in any critical manner. So, I spent the afternoon emailing, texting and messaging folks about the first draft.
And the next day, as in around 12:30am Wednesday morning, I was writing a new opening scene for the novel. The original opening scene now becomes the second scene. I know… I couldn’t stay away from the manuscript for 24 hours. I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t shut down my brain for 24 hours.
My brain moved into polishing mode without any effort on my part. It’s still in polishing mode even though I still believe I’m working on my first draft. But if I’ve added a new scene and I’m tightening up some of the dialogue, does that mean I’ve now started on my second draft? I’m thinking I’m still working on the first draft. I’m still operating as if I’m working on the first draft. So, I probably haven’t left first draft mode.
Well, I’m calling it now. First draft. Don’t tell me otherwise. It’s my novel so bugger off.
To be honest, I probably think I won’t be in second draft mode until after my writing mentor and my technical advisor have read the manuscript. They’ve both been notified that it’s done. They also know I’m currently going through the manuscript again before they get to read it.
There’s the belief that writing the story is the easy part compared to what needs to be done after you’re done writing it. I haven’t decided one way or the other.
If you’ve mapped out the scenes you want in the novel, the writing part is easy. Even then, you won’t necessarily follow what you’ve mapped out because a better idea about a plot point comes up and you end up shuffling things around or getting rid of some things altogether.
I actually find the stuff that comes after pretty interesting. Being in polishing mode isn’t bad. It’s about getting the manuscript in the best shape possible before you hand it over to an editor. Quite honestly, I’d rather not have the editor be distracted by easily correctable spelling and grammar when they should be concentrating on more pertinant aspects of the story.
Figuring out the book cover will be fun. I cringe a little when I say that. Figuring out a title for the novel would go a long way in figuring out the design of the book cover. Well, good luck to me in trying to come up with a book title because I suck at it. Maybe an idea will pop up as I go through the manuscript a second time. I can only hope.
Regardless of what’s easier, the writing or the stuff after the writing, the story is still with me. And it will probably be with me until it’s published. Even then, I have plans for my characters after they come alive in book form. Yeah, this story will stay with me for quite some time. I won’t be discussing what those plans are until much later in the year or maybe after the new year.
Yeah, the light is at the end of tunnel. I walked out of the tunnel and into the light. And I see a whole set of other challenges in front of me. This is not unexpected.
It never ends. It’s about going the distance. And I don’t mind it at all.