I have a confession. I finished writing my book a bit earlier. Yes, I finished writing the first draft of my book about two weeks ago. I first admitted this in my email newsletter and you should totally subscribe to my bi-monthly newsletter! Emails can suck, but mine don’t! Who knows maybe I’ll be doing some bookish giveaways.
To be honest, it’s hard for me to say that my book is finished because it has a long way to go. This is just the first draft and I might be looking at one or two more until I deem it “good” enough to start the query process. My plan is to finish draft two, give it to beta readers, and then polish the third draft. (Hopefully, by the end of February I’ll be sending letters out. Some big goals there.)
Writing draft two is giving me a lot of confidence actually. I can see the story sharpening and I can how far it’s come from the first time I sat down to work on this beast. I actually wrote the first four chapters of this book three years ago. And wow, let me tell you, they are horrible. Seriously, bad. I’m not just saying that. I feel like I’m a pretty good judge of my writing. The fact remains that I’ve grown as a writer since first writing those beginning chapters. Having written the end has made coming back to the beginning perceptive. I know exactly how to shape the start for the arc of the book to come together.
The lesson here is that I didn’t look back! I could have ruminated over those first few chapters for years without any progress. I ignored the bad parts and kept moving forward. Just keep writing!
As I was processing the enormity of completing my first manuscript, I came across this quote:
I couldn’t agree more and I even write with an outline. I have a massive Google document with the layout of my book and the mess that was my preliminary brainstorming. Plus, I have cheeky reminders for myself to write about all five senses. (I’m sure I’ll write another blog post sometime about how I plan but…)
But I don’t plan everything. I have a general idea of where things are going and the scenes of the book. I know what kind of absolute Hell I’m going to put my main character through but the rest comes from the characters interacting. Whether they interact with other characters, their environment, their own past, their feelings, etc. There is a lot of (cough) conflict going on that gets developed as I’m writing.
Now, that I’ve rewritten the first five chapters of my book the story is coming alive under my fingers. I think it’s so helpful having reached the end of my book. I know exactly who these characters are now. The first draft allowed me to get to know them truly, madly, deeply.
I have a long way to go but I’m not deterred. Like I said here, I have a story to tell. My book Lady of Despair and Destiny is an action-packed fantasy adventure novel with a splash of romance. Fede, the lady’s maid to the Queen, spies on Consort Fiammetta with the help of a swoon-worthy fellow servant. When tragedy strikes, she’s left on her own to find the truth. Her search takes her across the magical land of Deltesor where she encounters a dashing prince, thugs, graced gypsies, and soldiers. What she discovers about the corrupt Kingdom of Yanis has consequences for Fede and the future.
I have a prologue for my book that I’m very happy with. It takes place twenty years before Fede’s arrival at the palace. The ending lingers far beyond with a hint at the twists to come. Here it is an excerpt:
“I will see you both again. I promise I will explain what I can soon. Go to your hometown, I will send a messenger. Go! Now!” Rae looks desperate and confused, tears brimming in her eyes and panic in her shaking limbs. But at the queen’s urging, she leaves. The room is empty and the fire crackles in the hearth. The queen collapses onto a pillow behind her, sobbing and waiting.
An heir is born, another is hidden, a bride marries, and a queen faces the future alone.
Yes, I know prologues don’t always make the final cut. I brought my prologue to my writing group and we then had a fifteen-minute discussion (not on my prologue) but on the value of including prologues. The general advice being, omit the prologue. But come on! That’s some good stuff! Even if it doesn’t make the final cut of the book, I can always post it as some extra reading here on the blog.
Thanks for following along on my writing journey! Does my concept intrigue you? I hope so. Have you written a book/manuscript? What were your thoughts after completing it?