Mini celebration over here! While First Draft of Doom is still not complete, I wrote nearly a thousand words today and when I completed the scene I was in, I realized I had successfully bridged the rising conflict to the climax of the plot and now I just need to fill in pieces of scenes that I missed along the way. While I’ve written specific scenes out of order for this draft, I have, in general, been writing toward the ending for the past few months.
And then will it be done? Oh, goodness, no. This first draft? Consider it my very VERY detailed outline. As Shannon Hale says, I’m just shoveling sand into my sandbox right now. Next comes building the sandcastle (aka editing). For the past four years, I’ve just been telling myself the story. Next it will be time to rewrite it so that I am telling readers the story.
But. For the first time, I feel like I’m closing in on the finish line. The end of this draft is in sight, and THAT is a glorious thing.
Getting closer! I’m actually getting a point with writing this First Draft of Doom where I’m struggling to list scenes that still need to be written. Of course, this could be an unpleasant side effect of writing scenes out of order, but I’ll take it as an encouraging sign! No Debbie Downer here today.
I’m SO CLOSE. And yet so far. That’s the problem with being an aspiring author. You don’t have much to show for all of your efforts until it’s all over. I’ve been writing for years and those closest to me keep asking how it’s going and I feel a little embarrassed to say I’m not done yet. I’m not ashamed, just embarrassed. All of the work I’ve done up to this point has been to learn my craft. Each book is an accomplishment, even if it never sees the light of day. I mean, I’ve written at least four or five complete books at this point of my life, and at least that many partial books in addition to that, but only one of them was edited to the point where I’d be close to sending it out (before I changed my mind and set it aside to start my current project). I have one or two more waiting in the wings to be edited. And then I have this project, which I am about to start shaping into something worth submitting. For the first time since beginning The First Draft of Doom, I actually think it is within the realm of possibility for it to be completed within the next few weeks if I apply myself to the task. It’s not wishful thinking at this point: I’ve written over 80,000 words. I have maybe 8-10,000 more to complete the draft, tops. I can do that in a month. If I skip enough Arrow binge-watching sessions on Netflix. Then the next stage begins: revising. Which is scary. But necessary! No longer will I be able to justify crappy writing with the excuse that I’m just getting words out on the page and will come back and fix it later. Revising IS the later.
I can do this!
Will April’s Camp NaNoWriMo be the month I finally finish the #firstdraftofdoom? We shall see! I’m so close, y’all. SO CLOSE. I need to bridge the gap for my characters to get to the final climatic scene, tie up loose ends afterward, and go back to add some additional transitional scenes in the beginning that will lead toward the current version of my ending. To clarify: by going back to the beginning, I don’t mean I’m editing yet. However, I did write scenes out of order for this book, so now that it is four or five years after the initial plotting and writing began (having a colicky baby who grows into a ridiculously active toddler will do that to ya), there are gaps early on in the story caused by the of evolution of what it has now become, so I need to address those before I will feel like the draft is complete.
My goal for this session of Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 is 10k words. I think that is a reasonable estimate of the minimum number of words it will take to finish the project, and also I reasonable estimate of the time I have available to actually write this month. Like I said: SO CLOSE. (And yet so far!)
You know what, though? Even after it feels like this book has dragged on and on and on until it will be the death of me, I know I have already improved on the timeline it took to complete my last book. So, I’m learning. I’m growing. That’s good. I should always be learning and growing.