First Ever First draft written, a thankful thread, with a question...


The One and Only
Nov 18, 2013
Cape Town, and the road beyond.
Okay, i just wanted to post up here to say thanks to the members of chrons for their help and support.

I can say now that i have officially finished my first ever first draft. It's underwritten, rushed, and lacks depth and whatever else, and is in dire need of a good edit, but it's finished. I also discovered through this that i'm most likely an underwriter (I write less than my target word count).

Anywho... I know it's been asked here a million times, but my time is short and i don't have a lot of it to search through everything on the forums.... What next? Do i leave it first for awhile before editing, or do a rough edit, then leave it?

So, thanks to you all here for the support you gave and for answering my basic questions over and over again hahaha... I really appreciate it :D

Firstly - fantastic news, you've delivered your baby. :) Well done!!!

My next advice to you is to leave it, let it gather a bit of dust, go off and do other different projects. At least a couple of weeks. (I left my first draft 3 months, but then I was reading a whole pile of SF that I needed to catch up on that let me research my genre in more detail!)

Then when you feel energetic get stuck back into the next draft. One further bit of advice that I think is useful - before you change anything, read the whole draft. Try and get that holistic general overview of the whole thing before you start changing stuff.
Thats fast, you were at 10k saturday! Congratulations, as venusian says - leaving it is a popular choice ( possibly because you get a bit sick of the sight of it) . But as with other things, it is personal choice.
What next? Do i leave it first for awhile before editing, or do a rough edit, then leave it?

My experience was to edit it down as much as I felt I could (which was not enough).

Then rewrite the entire thing. If you do this, you have a second draft!

I've never written a draft so quickly, but I think if I had, I wouldn't put it away at this stage. Instead, I'd now go through it, and start the business of improving this draft. In my case, as I write long, this would mean pruning and tightening. In your case, that would involve adding whatever is missing eg description, sub-plots, character development. I'd only put it aside when I'd made it the best I could at this stage.

Much depends on how you feel about it, though. If you're still enthused, use that enthusiasm and carry on at once. If you've got a bit jaded , or you've run out of ideas or energy temporarily, then put it away for a bit.
I work much like you and I'd work at fleshing this one out and bringing it up to a reasonably clean draft. Then I'd file it away for several weeks, work at something else (I had no idea how much improved my first book would become after writing another), and only then come back to edit. I'd also have it mauled by some betas when it was reasonably clean and again when it's been edited again. I would absolutely, never, ever sub without at least a couple of edits from this rough draft and some feedback.
Well done, lonewolf. Isn't it a fabulous feeling to look back and say 'Wow. I write this thing that has a beginning, middle and end!'? I remember my first draft of my first novel, such a satisfying feeling, even though you know it's going to take work. :)
Thank you :) @Juliana it's an awesome feeling, but I keep fighting a feeling that says it's not quite finished yet, and it isn't... as springs and a few others have said, I'll need to go and flesh it out some because there are A LOT of holes, and inconsistencies i need to fix. But now i know what i need to do to draft out some more stories. I won't get beta's until i'm at least on my second draft, because it's not ready to be read. No where close.

I'll work on fleshing it out and filling gaps in between plotting for my second story, but i'll leave it on hold for at least a week to build a bit of distance and regain some energy for it. For now, I need to work on my love story haha
To put it aside when you are still unhappy with it is risky. You might decide not to come back. If you take it as far as you think you can (taking what you've learned by the end of each draft and applying it to the next) and then put it aside so that you can come back to it with a fresh outlook, that could be valuable.

I usually do a fair amount of edits as I go, but coming back after a few weeks away or working on something else is certainly very valuable - lots more moments where you'll think "what was I thinking?" or "what does that even mean?" come with some distance, which will only help you improve.
Well, its not that i'm not happy with it, it just that it needs more work :) I'm happy that i completed it, beginning, middle, end. Which I've wanted to do for awhile. But maybe i won't :) At least now i know what it takes to complete the first draft, and can apply what i have learned to any future first drafts i'll be doing. That was my ultimate goal for NaNo: to walk away with a completed draft, albeit it rough, and far from ready to sub and even far from the goal of 50k words. But at least it's done, and i can start working on something else, maybe even something a little more complicated. I just need to tie it up, and get the inconsistencies fixed, the holes filled and the detail expanded. Also need to get the character's stories a little deeper.

Maybe i'll read through it tomorrow with a red pen and make notes where i need to improve or work on it for when i do decide to edit. And i'm guessing that is where the real work begins, the editing and rewriting? Looking forward to it, its going to be fun!!! :D
Great achievement and it is a great feeling, enjoy that first and foremost then if you remember
1 Any plot holes
2 Character lapses
3 Other stuff you were'nt sure about
Mark it, note it
Because when you come back to it there will be holes. So it's nice to already have an agenda that you are remembering, it is a first draft and before going back to it you will have some sort of recalled overview, this is useful.
2nd Edit is a different process, different head, might be you want to clear up the obvious gaps, mistakes etc, might be there are more structural problems which can be dealt with a more crearive head.
Some time apart is good, how much who knows? but rejoice in doing a first draft and remember that that is what it is. Initial thoughts and inspirations, and very yours, now it is for others.
The temptation is to skip the harder work and hand it out too early, my suggestion is don't, there has been a strong impulse, take time to present it in the best way YOU want to.

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