Monday, February 2, 2009

"THE END": How completing the 1st draft is only the beginning...

I never knew when I'd type the words "THE END" when I set out to write my first novel. However, late in the afternoon on the last day of my self-made timeline, my self-proposed time when I wanted to be done with at least the 1st draft, it happened. And, oddly enough, it was pretty anti-climatic for me. Not exactly the reaction I had envisioned. And definitely not like when I hit the climax of the story.

I am happy, though. Don't get me wrong. I am elated that I actually finished something I had set out to do back in May of 2008: write a novel by the end of the year (ok, so I was a month late, but honestly. December? Noveling in December? I don't count December, or November for that matter, as part of the time where I can accomplish anything due to chaotic holiday fun...)

So...long story made short: I did it.


Finishing - typing THE END - to the first draft of a novel equates with only the beginning of the very long and arduous task of editing, editing some more, sending it out critique groups, re-editing, writing a query letter, writing a synopsis, sending said query letter and synopsis out ot agents, getting rejected, editing said letter and synopsis, re-sending it out, getting more rejections, re-editing the entire novel to make it more to the liking of the agents/publishers/editors, re-sending out query you see where I'm going with this?

A first draft is only the very, very beginning of a very, very long and painful process. That's why out of the 100,000 would be writers out there that set out on this journey never get to the finishing line of having a novel published. Most die off during this stage in the process. But for those who don't, there is bounty to be had - you just have to have the drive, the passion, and the courage (aka: thick skin) to survive the constant beating of not only the novel you poured yourself into, but also every inch of your being.

But don't dismay. According to professional writers: you are not a Pro-writer until you get your first rejection. Isn't that great! And for the insurmountable rejections that you do get, you wont' get the one - the one that counts - until you've been rejected time and time again, forcing you to perfect what you already thought was perfect.

I mean, after all, it's your baby. What could be wrong with it, right?

Although I'm eager to become a 'pro' writer, I think I'll edit my baby at least 20 times. Yes, you read that right. Twenty times. Why? Because, quite frankly, it's crap right now. Although I want to get that first rejection - and the subsequent acceptance - I don't want there to be such a trail of laughter, name calling, and finger pointing following said rejection letter that I virtually give up from the embarrassment. No way! I want to at least give it my very best shot. That's why I'm going to edit it until I can't possibly see any need for change then send it off to be slaughtered. I want to give my baby the very best chance of not dying it's first journey out into the unknown.

What I am excited about, though, is printing out the bad-boy...I can't wait to feel the weight of what I've done in the palm of my hands. Seeing it on the computer screen, seeing how many bites of memory it saves as, who many pages it says it is, how many words - this doesn't mean a damn thing to me. I want to feel my baby in my hands so I can truly see, feel, what I've accomplished. I think that's the point in this journey when it'll feel real. Just like when I felt my little son, skin to skin, in my arms after he was born. Right now, it's too arbitrary, too abstract. I have a good imagination, but I just can't fathom it - or maybe I don't want to - until I see it and feel it with my own two hands. My life poured out into pages. My baby.

Then I'll start chopping away!

So, as the saying goes...endless I come!

Printing it out in eco-friendly fashion, as I am a true Eco-Warrior, I think I might test out an eco-printing service, or get a ream of 100% recycled paper, fresh and new, to print out my 698 pages (yes, I know, I know, it's too long...that's why I can't wait to start editing!! :)

I think I might look into eco-printing service Bacchuspress