On June 10, 2016, I first sat down at my laptop and began writing a story. It was about a chef who is stranded on Mars and rescued by two Martians. A totally silly premise but I had a story to tell. Fifteen months later and here I am with a completed first draft of LOVED MARS, HATED THE FOOD.
When I completed the first draft of THE ROAD AHEAD, I was elated. No, make that giddy. This time not so giddy, maybe just elated. Completing draft #1 is an significant milestone. You’ve got your story down on paper, which is quite an accomplishment. But I naively thought, back in the days of THE ROAD AHEAD, that I was nearly done.
WRONG. Draft #1 is garbage. Draft #1 has plot holes big enough to drive a Martian rover through. Draft #1 has pages of lifeless prose that could put you in a coma for a decade. Draft #1 neither shows or tells, it runs amok spilling manure on your oriental rugs. Draft #1 has grammar that will make you nostalgic for Grade 3. What I’m trying to say is that finishing Draft #1 is a big deal but it’s just a step in a long drawn-out process.
There will be many more drafts to come. Editing is a nightmare. It can kill your soul. It can make you wake up in the middle of the night weeping. But it’s a necessary evil. When I edit, it’s much different than many writers. They often need to cut thousands of words from the manuscript. That’s a painful thing to do. Not me. I don’t write from an outline. I’m what one might call a pure pantser. My story is being developed as I write it. Because I’m so focused on getting the story down, I don’t pay enough attention to character development, plot arc, verb tense, etc. Therefore when I’m editing, I’m adding, not deleting. But it’s still a difficult process. It’s also when you finally begin to share your manuscript with others. That’s like when you first leave your baby with a babysitter. You finally discover the meaning of WORRY.
I’m happy to finally type those two words “THE END” but the celebration is short. It’s just another milestone on a long road. Hope to see you when I get there.