I don't like to speak too soon, but here goes: last week, I was minding my own business writing away, working on the novel. It was Tuesday and my brain was fired up, adding a plot twist that had come to me earlier. I kept scrawling in my notebook, moving my character half-way around the globe. Then, as I wrote the words, I realized I was on the last section, the last paragraph, the last word. The End. I put down my pen. I had finished my first draft!
Except there was still work to do. The next day, I pulled the laptop close and began typing, sometimes with just one hand, sometimes with two. Both were difficult in their own way. One handed is slow, two hands was a strain for fingers that had been on hiatus for over a month. I plugged away, thinking maybe I wasn't quite ready for two-handed typing. My PT on Monday said, "go ahead." She stressed good ergonomics but thought I was ready. Beyond ready. That afternoon I worked on it more, and it was either Monday or Tuesday this week that the first draft was fully typed. Phew!
Sometimes I wondered how and when I would get there, but as my friend from the writing group suggested, I let my characters guide me. After that it was typing skills I learned from Mrs. Petrowitz during sophomore year of high school, honed by years of use, that helped me race to the end.
Now begins the task of editing. And fact checking. Thanks to online research, I could find examples of some of the important historical details that surround the story lines. (I'll share more on that later.) Coincidentally, Deb at 49 Writers just put up a post about rewriting. Lucky for me I hadn't gotten rid of my old printer. The ink is low on the new one and I really wanted to print the entire draft. I hooked up the old, slow printer, and had enough paper to print it all.
This afternoon, I gathered my notes, a notebook, Deb's post (which I'd printed out), the first 60 pages of the draft and strolled over to my local coffee shop. I set up with my Americano and my pencil and began reading. Reading and taking notes, making small edits, a list of questions. I didn't allow myself distractions, having left the laptop and a book at home, and placing myself indoors instead of out in the sun looking at the mountains. Three hours later (or was it four?), I had made my last notes for the day.
It feels good to be on this path, working on the edits and evaluating the structure and the level of detail I give to sections of the story. Even evaluating how the first page should open the story. So much to consider.
The Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference is in three weeks. I want to be ready.