There’s a certain degree of joy one feels when they finally come to the end of a project, or in my case a stage of a project. On late Friday (maybe early Saturday) I finally reached the end of the first draft of my rewrite of Pecan Hill. There was a degree of elation that I had finally finished the draft. The last time I had felt the emotion was the first time I had reached the end of a draft on a story called When Angels Fall, which is now firmly ensconced in my trunk, way back in 2008. I certainly didn’t feel the same degree of pleasure when I had finished the first draft of Pecan Hill in 2009. Maybe it was because it was the second manuscript draft in a row which I had taken to the end and it was starting to feel like it was now the standard thing for me to reach the end of a draft.
But 2010 was a lean year for me in terms of being able to finish any stage of any project. I didn’t finish anything. I started Spoil the Child and I started Lords of the Apocalypse. Both were abandoned at a stage last year when I decided to carry on and finish Pecan Hill. But it was difficult getting going in Pecan Hill again, it almost felt as though the story had been told and now I was wasting time. I felt bored. I even put it to one side for a while on several occasions. What had been easy for me in 2008 and 2009, now almost seemed to be impossible for me in 2010. And it was only when I had lost a good half of what I had done for Spoil the Child again that I had decided that I couldn’t simply abandon Pecan Hill and needed to finish what I had started.
Eventually in the last two or three weeks I decided that the time had come and that I was going to put as much effort as possible into Pecan Hill so that I can into finishing Pecan Hill and I wrote almost 30k words in two weeks to get to the end.
So what’s next?
The important thing is to remember that the writing process does not stop now that I have finished the first draft. It is only the first draft and I need to go through the manuscript a few more times to get the story and the language up to the necessary standard so it might possibly be good enough to attract the attention of first an agent and then a publishing house. There is still several months worth of work to be put in.
But I also need to give myself a break from Pecan Hill and work on something else. If I had to stay in the world of Pecan Hill, I think I would go insane and would be back to where I was at the beginning of 2010. Pecan Hill needs to air, like a wine before I start to go through it again in my editing process and get it done. It might be nice to take a few weeks/months break from writing completely I need to think of it as a job and there is no way I can take off a few months from my day job when I’ve finished a project and the same thing must happen with my writing.
I might take the rest of this week off so that I can catch up on my reading but next week, I need to get back into the planning process for Spoil the Child and catch up and pass where I was before the data was lost. Pecan Hill was my discovery writing novel, Spoil the Child will be my outline work. I want to find the best method for me and it’s only through writing I’ll find my path. If I am an outliner, I don’t believe I will be one of those writers plans everything. There will still have to be room for me to discovery write parts of the work.
Once Spoil the Child‘s planning has been finished. I think I’ll pick up Pecan Hill again to start the editing process. But I’ll split my time (probably on a night by night basis) between Pecan Hill and Spoil the Child and work on two projects at once.
Talks of destiny
It might be corny, but it almost feels as though I was supposed to have finished Pecan Hill this weekend, because this week’s episode of Writing Excuses is about rewriting and the process after your first draft has been finished. You can find the episode here.