Okay, you’ve made at least one pass through your manuscript, you’ve fixed a few typos, maybe changed a couple details. You’re feeling good. Now it’s time to dig into the big-picture changes.
You did it. You typed those amazing words The End. You have a NOVEL. But maaaaaaaybe it’s not as polished as you’d like.
You know what that means? It’s time for…
The Dreaded ”E” Word: Editing
No matter how many times I type those magical words THE END, it never gets old. On Friday—two weeks later than my goal but also 15,000 words past my goal—I finished the first draft of The Trail Rules, book two in the Rules series. (In case you’ve missed it, YES! This is now a series!)
I started writing my current novel in April and arbitrarily decided that I’d like to finish it by the time our family arrived at the beginning of August. I quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen, but I still wanted to finish it SOON, so I set a new deadline of our NEXT houseguests. Who are coming at the end of August.
In less than two weeks.
Welcome to Part 3 of my series How to Finish the First Draft. You know how to get the words out (no matter how bad they are) and that you need to make writing those sucky words a priority, but there’s still that little voice niggling in the back of your mind, trying to distract you from getting your work done.
One of the biggest obstacles to finishing a first draft isn’t writer’s block, a lack of ideas, or a general feeling that you suck as a writer (although that last one can really do a number on your self-esteem). The biggest obstacle is not making writing a priority.
I’ll repeat that. You must make writing a priority.
Despite what some people may lead you to believe, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. How you choose to spend those 24 hours is what separates those who plan to write a novel someday and those who write novels. If you truly want to write, it has to come before other things fighting for your time.
One of the biggest challenges of being a writer is finishing the first draft — especially if you’ve never completed a manuscript. There are as many reasons for not finishing as there are stars in the sky, so I thought I’d share with you things I’ve learned over the years that help me write those magical words, The End.
Strong female protagonists are nothing new in literature. From Nancy Drew to Katniss Everdeen, teen girls have always had strong role models—if they knew where to look. But something has shifted in the last decade.
When I agreed to speak to 200 eighth graders, I thought, “How hard can it be? Adults talk to kids all the time.” But THIS adult has very little interaction with anyone under the age of 25 so needless to say, the fear set in very quickly.
A lot of my fellow writers can name an author who inspired them to become writers, or who inspire them to continue writing as adults. Neil Gaiman, Sue Grafton, Judy Blume… the names of these icons roll off their tongues without hesitation. But for me, it’s a little more complicated.