Monday, December 8, 2014

Advice For Writers #14: The Stages Of Finishing A First Draft

Alex Steele here to talk about the 5 stages of grief that follows finishing a first draft. Basically, I wanted to talk about the five stages I go through after having completed a first draft. This mainly goes for when I've done something like NaNoWriMo. They are as follows.

1. Excitement! - It's done! It's epic and I love everything about it. It came out exactly how I've been seeing it in my head and I can't wait to jump into revisions.

2. Exhaustion - I want to sleep all day every day because.... that was So. Much. WORK. Seriously. The thought of even looking at it again makes me want to curl in a ball, make like a bear, and hibernate.

3. Despair - The exhaustion has faded after a week long coma (where I sleep till 3pm and watch lots of TV), and the world is so dark. I can't think of the book without the despair welling up and preparing to drag me back down into it's depths. I mean there's so much wrong with the book, my character has no character, my writing is flawed, DO YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THAT PLOT HOLE!? The world will never be okay again.

4. Shiny New Idea/Confliction - It's the middle of the night, I'm avoiding all thoughts of writing, because, hello? it's a mess! When bam. Shiny new idea arrives on a white horse, only what do I do? Do I jump right into this perfect, loving, new idea and ignore my book, or do I put the idea on hold and dive into the deep ocean to drown myself in revisions? I love the shiny new idea, it's shiny and new and promises such excitement, but the book! It's always lurking in the back of my mind and will not rest until all plot holes have been filled, all characters fleshed out, until all those pesky commas are fixed, and the evil plot bunnies chased out with pitch forks!

5. Acceptance - The moment you realize that the book was once a shiny new idea too, and that it can be that way again (shiny not new), but first you must devote time to it. You must watch it grow, you must feed and water it, you must weed out all the bad seeds, you must find better metaphors. And so, leaving the despair behind and your shiny new idea off to the side, you dive into the endless darkness that is revisions.

Well, there you have it. Basically, I sleep, procrastinate, clean, bake and do anything possible until I can no longer ignore revisions. It's just a brief feeling of accomplishment, finishing a first draft, but it also gives you hope, my friends. Hope that one day it will be a shiny new hardcover book.

*disclaimer* this post has been greatly exaggerted and I was extremly sleep deprived when I wrote it.!

write on, write on.

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