the first draft of my novel…

the first draft of my novel...

I’ve been working on my current novel since 2012, but this year I set myself the challenge of finishing the first draft, so at least I would have an idea of the shape of the novel, and I would have something concrete to work with, instead of just faffing about and perfecting each scene as I go along.

I was so excited about this: I set myself word count goals and I got past the tricky 60K mark, which was where I always got stuck. When it was finished, I would shout it from the rooftops: I’d tell everyone, share it on social media, celebrate with various forms of alcohol and food. I could finally say I had written a novel in its entirety, even if it would need a shitload of editing before I could unleash it on the world.

Two days ago, I finished it. And I told no one. I sat on the floor and watched the pages print out, and I realised that I felt nothing. No elation, no relief. Not even disappointment. I’ve felt more excitement after finishing a short story. It’s not the fact that itย isn’t ‘finished’ (in the sense that it will need that shitload of editing I mentioned earlier). It’s more that I can’t really believe it. Or maybe I don’t want to believe it. I’m going to let it sit for a while before I start editing, which is quite a standard thing to do. But I just don’t want to make a Big Thing of it. Perhaps I’m saving that for when it’s ready to be published. Or perhaps I’m scared that it might never be published. I can’t see it being that though, as I’ve always told myself that my first novel might not make the grade. That happens sometimes. I have other novel ideas that may turn out to be better.

It’s fine, though. I’m pleased I’ve written it, and I’m glad I’ve proved to myself that I can do it. I have the stamina and drive to finish an actual novel draft. I’m also looking forward to getting in about it with an editing scalpel, and I can already pinpoint where I’ll need to do a lot of work and how I can strengthen it. It’s weird though. I thought it would be a bigger deal than this. I have written an entire, 80000 word novel. But I feel strangely detached from it. Not just from the manuscript but from the whole process. It’s been – and still is ย -very weird.

8 thoughts on “the first draft of my novel…

  1. Finishing a novel is always a really good achievement, but I always feel a bit like that once I’ve finished one! Quite often I’m sick of the sight of it for a while!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. CONGRATULATIONS, Andrea!!!! Good for you! I think the ‘flat’ feeling is normal – I felt the same and have spoken with other authors who reported similar emotions. I think it’s only Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone who sobs and goes into hysteria that her novel is complete – no editing required from her either, which says it all ๐Ÿ™‚ Fiction!!
    Nevertheless, you can be very proud of yourself and look forward to knocking it into shape. I’m working on the edits of my novel and it’s very scary – even more so than actually writing it in the first place. It will be a totally different book once I’ve finished but I’ll listen and act upon the advice of my editor – she knows best ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wishing you much success and look forward to reading the finished product!

    • Thanks Nicola, it’s so good to know that it’s not just me, as I was quite surprised. Mind you, the flat feeling is probably easier to deal with than hysteria. But no editing required???!! How on earth???!!

      Best of luck with getting your book knocked into shape, I guess the editing is a long, scary process too, but I’m just so glad to finally have something to work with! Looking forward to reading yours too ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Okay, you may not want to make a Big Thing of it but I certainly do. This is BRILLIANT. I have wanted to write a novel for so long and, honestly, rarely even manage a short story. Whereas you, on the other hand, are consistently committed to writing and this is the pay off. Being able to write an ACTUAL NOVEL is a huge deal. I’m so proud of you!!

    • Aww, thank you!! I’m usually the same when someone else says they’ve written a novel (or done something else that is a MASSIVE deal), but I think because its myself that’s done it, it doesn’t seem that huge. Isn’t it weird how we humans are so hard on ourselves?! You’ve achieved so much with The Olive Fox, so it’s no wonder you;re short of time to write fiction – but stick with it, it CAN happen. Thanks again for your support xx

  4. Woooop!! Well done Andrea x I felt the same when I finished mine and it’s only now, a year later that I even want to look at it again. Can’t wait to read yours <3

    • Thanks Donna – I’ve barely looked at mine since completing it either, but editing it will be on my to-do list for 2017 ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

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