Day 190 – First-read of the manuscript

Day one hundred ninety of my 365 Day Writing Project.

I began moving forward into new territory tonight: the first read-through. I finished the first draft of my manuscript last night and wasted no time to continue working on it. While it may be crazy to jump right into reading the draft the next day, I decided it was the right way to go for me. After all, I’m not going to read it in one sitting.

The general tip out there is that it is a good idea to let some time pass between finishing the first draft and reading it. Nat Russo gives great advice about the subject in his article Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through. He suggests putting your first draft on a shelf for at least a few weeks. Despite his solid recommendation, I decided to get right into it. I made that decision because I wrote the first chapter over six months ago and now I barely remember it. Which is just how it should be.

When you pick it up again, you need to feel as if the words are somewhat strange and alien…like you’re rediscovering something you had almost forgotten. You’ll recognize the work, vaguely, as something you wrote. But you will have achieved some degree of objectivity and distance. You’re in “the zone” now. – Nat Russo, Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through

I’m in the zone now. My first impression after reading a portion tonight is that I have a long, long way to go before anybody else is going to read it. Boy, it needs work! But it was good for me to see how much my writing has changed between then and now. Marked improvement. So while there will be a lot of revising and re-writing ahead of me, already seeing improvement from where I started gives me hope.

Day 189 – 1st draft complete!

Day one hundred eighty-nine of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words for Days 188 and 189: 1,700

I did it! I finished the first draft. Twenty-one chapters over a little more than six months, and it’s done. Things got a bit wobbly the last couple of days as I tried to finish it. It was more difficult to bring the story to an end than I had anticipated. Fortunately, I think it turned out well.

Now that the first draft is done, I’m excited to start reading, revising and re-writing. I do not have a solid sense of the best way to proceed with this stage, so I plan to do a lot of reading up on the subject over the next couple of weeks. And while I have been keeping track of my word count and general progress over the last six months of this Project, now I am faced with no way to quantify my ongoing work. But I don’t think that matters anymore. It’s all part of the process of writing. I will continue to blog about my daily work on writing my first novel, whether I’m reading, writing or revising it.