I finally finished the first draft of my vampire novel. Everything I read tells me to put it in a drawer and come back to it in a month or two. sighs This is proving to be very difficult for me. How does everyone else handle putting it in a drawer?? It’s driving me insane-r!
I think a couple of weeks is fine. I like to re-tell the story to myself during that time, take mental notes, and look for a fresh perspective; maybe sketch an outline from the antagonist’s POV. I think when you have an Ah-Ha! moment or two, it’s fine to go back and start amplifying the broad strokes of your plot, the characters, and your basic “theme”. Good luck and congrats!
Yes, I agree, it’s hard to put it away when your book has been your life for so long. I found reading or taking courses about “the next step” --revision – helped me get away from my writing, and set me up for that important beginning step in the revision process – reading it through without editing.
Thank you! The idea and working out the plot came during PPN+. I never would have been able to finish the first draft without everything I’ve learned in taking classes here. I started writing with a 14 page outline with most of my scenes already worked out. I had a few holes in the middle, but I worked them out while writing.
Thank you! That’s a great idea.
I haven’t posted here in a while, but this is so relatable I had to jump on and reply! (I have difficulty keeping myself from editing as I write, which results in perfectionism and incomplete drafts.)
My suggestion to you is to pursue something unrelated to writing or editing your draft for a week (two at most). There’s no need to delay for two months, IMHO. But doing something completely different can help “reset” your mind and prepare it for second and third looks at your first draft.
This is the time to catch up with a short Netflix show or start learning to knit! But, if you absolutely must write, you could also work on a different writing project for fun. Don’t pile expectations onto the second project, though.
P.S: I also have a novel in super-early development (also in the vampire genre, coincidentally!) but I’ve been stuck for ages thanks to stress building up, so I started writing something different just to refresh my brain. I have no expectations for this second story yet, and I seem to be less stressed about writing it.
Thank you! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one with this problem. Thank you for your wonderful advice. I can easily bury myself in netflix!
I don’t have that problem since if I’m not working on a novel, I’m working on short stories which helps give me the mental gear switching necessary for this to work.
The best thing I’ve found for those withdrawal symptoms is continuing to live with the book. Without cracking open the manuscript, writing an elevator pitch and a synopsis for the book helped me focus on the themes and arcs I wanted in the story. When I go back to revise, I see if my image of the story is really what I wrote. I also attempt to clean up my files and notebooks from all the scribbles I collected. I might need them later, or not. Congratulations on finishing the first draft!
Two weeks between passes works for me. Sometimes longer if I divert onto side projects and short fiction. By the time I come back to it, I’ve usually forgotten what I wrote to the extent of “which moron wrote this garbage?”
I have a manuscript; Book One is edited as far as I can right now. Someone else will have to read it. I no longer have any idea what’s good or bad. Different question.
I think a month is too long. What’s most important is my mindset when I get back to the First Revision. So, usually I’ll do something away from the writing table. I don’t want to see those pages the author, but a critic who has a basic question about almost everything very close to the line level. I like to have a adversarial relationship with my work asking if each and every paragraph is necessary or could be improved(like, shortened) or if I’m missing something that would give the reader lot of “Ah-Ha’s” and satisfying nods.