Wednesday, 3 February 2010

END OF THE BEGINNING, OR BEGINNING OF THE END?

Well, there it is. Look at it, sitting there all full of itself. 81,423 words (for now). A first draft. Finished. Done. Look closely (or click on the picture) and you'll see a title too. (I know what you're thinking - that, like the money in suitcases in films, all those sheets of paper beneath are blank! Well, you'll just have to trust me.) It's a couple of months late, but at a few days over eleven months, I’ll take that. There was a house move, some rubbish health, 600 short stories to appraise, plus the usual distractions of cricket and beer and self-doubt and that thing some people term writer’s block.

So what now? Well, several of these to start with.

And then I might just look lovingly at the ms for a while, before whisking it away somewhere safe (from fear of spilling something on it rather than any paranoia about plagiarising). And that’s it for two weeks. I want to come back refreshed, when both the unconscious and conscious mind will have had a chance to masticate on the book. A period of revising, re-writing, cutting and pasting, tweaking, sculpting, polishing and general loving will take place. (I’ll post a little about how I go about this soon.)

And then it’s the rather scary part of allowing someone to see it, to offer an opinion or two. Of course, they’ll find one or two (er-hum) continuity errors, mistakes in tense (I used two throughout), POV and narrative. Some character will have gone to the pub in trousers, returning in jeans. That sort of thing.

For now, though, I’m just bloated with satisfaction, which is preferable to the sense of that what-the-fuck-have-I-signed-up-for feeling last March.

And as for the story, I actually believe in it. Phew.

12 comments:

Glen said...

Hello, I fear I have somewhat missed the boat! Finding your blog after you have actually finished your first draft seems a tad late, never mind. It looks as though I have some interesting reading ahead; I’ve already picked up some good tips after sitting and reading only three posts!

I’m rapidly approaching the point of being brave enough to enter a competition or submit works for proper publication. Not quite ready, you understand, but getting there. And so anything I can learn is a bonus. If you have no objections, I shall certainly be coming back to find out how things are going and also to continue my education! Thanks.

Nicola Morgan said...

Oh what a very very happy feeling! The best. Well done, very well done indeed. I know what it takes and I know what it means. The best thing you can do now is not look at it for a while, while you put your mind into a completely different gear, forget what happened and then return to it as a reader and not a writer. If your memory is as bad as mine, that might take as little as a week...

Meanwhile, congratulations!

TOM J VOWLER said...

You're very welcome, Glen. Have a look around. There's (hopefully) a good mix of information and entertainment.

When you start submitting, remember that rejection is (I'm afraid) the norm. Study hard the journal/website/competition/agent/publisher you are sending work to.

Thank you, Nicola. Never quite thought all those blank pages would get filled.

Paul said...

Have a well-earned break! Every word you say in this post sounds utterly familiar to me. I'm back in the rewrite phase on mine, and I'm finding a lot more work needed than I had first imagined. I hope you will find yours more polished than I found mine, but the biggest milestone is already behind you.

*snif*

Vanessa Gebbie said...

hey, congrats, Tom.

Enjoy the fortnight's rest. Not too many headaches!

Donna Hosie said...

Congratulations! Having a pile of printed paper somehow makes it all real.

Glen said...

Tom,

Everything I've ever read about this whole writing thing, agrees with you that I’ll have to get ready for some rejection. So far the tester articles that I've submitted to newspapers etc. have not even managed to achieve a rejection! They have merely been ignored. None the less I fully intend to persevere. I know I have the imagination – I just need to keep practising the skill.

Well done again on your achievement.

Blake Kimzey said...

Tom,

You can bet I'll be in line to buy your novel when it is published. Massive congrats!

Anna-Marie said...

I like your pen.

Hey, well done! But can you still do this blog during your 2 week rest because it's very entertaining?

claires inner world said...

Tom, I can imagine the blood, sweat and tears encapsulated in that block of A4... Many congratulations, it's a wonderful achievement.

And congratulations on the use of the word 'masticate' in your post. A good word and most underused in my view!

So hope the mastication goes well and looking forward to reading the finished product...

TOM J VOWLER said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments. They say a writer needs just ten loyal readers to survive (or is it a hundred?); reckon I'm nearly there already.

Yes, Claire, I had to be careful how I spelt that word.

Yacota Shayne said...

Congratulations!