Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keep Moving Forward: After The First Draft's Done

The Book Breather

Having finished up the first(ish) draft of the book that I've been pouring my heart, soul, and every spare moment into, I'm at a bit of a loss. Right now, my weekends are not guilty moments of, "Man, I should be writing." I'm giving my manuscript a breather.

I need a little distance from it so that I can gain the perspective to go back and tear it to pieces, if need be.

Honestly, something inside me really thinks, "This is the one" (and I'll share a story on that at the end of this post), but I've fooled myself before, and I've seen my writing improve so much that I can't even regret not getting published earlier (well, not much anyway).

Keep Going

For me, the key to keeping going after every horribly disappointed query letter rejection is pretty simple: have a new project in the wings.

Before I even let myself finish up my draft of my WIP (work in progress), I took a break to do some serious brainstorming. Now, of course, this may have been a little bit about procrastinating (hey, endings are hard), but it was also about having a cool new project to look forward to. It's about having something to keep my mind off my paranoia when others are reading my First Draft and writing down everything that's wrong with it.

And, later, it'll be about having a new project I'm excited about when the rejections start coming in. Even though I think this book might be "it," I'm not going to give up if it isn't (and even books that get published frequently gain a few rejections along the way). I've got to believe that if this isn't "it," maybe the book I just started is.

So, that's my secret recipe: a fully developed sense of delusion with a newer and shiner project always in the wings.

The Encouraging Story

I do have one indicator that my current WIP is, at the very least, better than my other, retired manuscripts. You see, my husband is a very helpful critic for my work. I think he's pretty perceptive. For example, when we watch movies together, I come out of the theater saying, "That was fun," and he comes out saying, "Yeah, I enjoyed it, but . . ." And then I realize that he has a point, even if he's being a bit picky sometimes.

I only managed to get him to read one of my other manuscripts the whole way through, and even that one took him a while. Then, at the end, he pointed out the slow parts and plot holes and all sorts of things.

I gave him this book, expecting him to get back to me in a few months (possibly with a few nagging reminders thrown in). Instead, I got home and he'd read through the whole thing! He'd started and got so caught up in my story that he'd just kept on reading.

I was so excited!

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