Wednesday, 27 March 2013

On completing a first draft

 
I’m there. A solid effort since September and I have a pile of paper filled with words for my end-of-March deadline. So how does it feel finally to send off a first draft? Nerve-wracking, that’s how. All those days, weeks and months at the desk trying to piece together a coherent story, trying to find original ways of expressing recognisable emotions and capturing landscapes, having moments of inspiration but mostly just pushing on, and now the result has to be revealed to the first readers.

Though some parts are better than I dared hope, there is also an uneasy feeling that there remain ideas in my head that never quite translated to words on the page. Private battles have yet to be revealed, but will remain unspoken so as not to prejudice a first reaction. The moment of truth will arrive with an email or phone call from my literary agents, whose job is to be brutally honest. I may not agree with all facets of their verdicts, but I know that this honesty is crucial, and also that it will come with the finest of motives: to make my novel the best it can be.

So, for a while, I feel free – like the first days of a long summer holiday when you relish the sense of not having to do anything – but then the ominous space between the date the manuscript was sent and the silence and empty in-box of the present begins to weigh heavier. The story starts to seem ridiculous, clunky, inept. The mind prepares for bad news: any criticism will already be pre-empted; I have already ripped my own work into a thousand shreds and will be able to say that I quite understand, I’d been thinking very much the same thing myself.

I read lots of writers’ blogs, most of which stream in through my Facebook page since I joined a site that puts writers in touch with writers. Many of these writers are young, more than most are American, and the confidence that blares from these pages is quite astounding to me. Good luck to them - I wish I had their self-belief. Older, wider (all that sitting down at the desk…) and bloody-well British about it all, I prefer to keep my trumpet firmly in the back of cupboard until I know there’s a reason to blow it.


9 comments:

Michel said...

Congratulations on getting to this milestone on the road to getting your next book published. Enjoy the short reprieve before you have to respond to your first "reviews."

Cornflower said...

Well done, Deborah!

Bonnie R said...

Congratulations! I can't wait to see the final draft. :)

Jacqueline Brown said...

I can't wait to read it! Well done, hope you can enjoy a bit if relax time for a while.

BookBelle said...

You are going to be just fine. You, the author of that fabulous book, The Lantern. Your characters are superb, your storytelling magical. I have no doubt that you will be taking that trumpet out soon.

Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Congratulations, Deborah! I think the blaring confidence from the Americans must be from the young, because here sits one older Chicagoan who has a penchant for second-guessing...and third-guessing...if there were such a thing.

Looking forward to reading your final draft!

Evelyn said...

Bravo! You finished it...at least for now. Enjoy your mini-break. And be gentle with yourself!

Marcheline said...

If it's even half as wonderful as "The Lantern", it will be brilliant!

Sara Louise said...

Best of luck with it Deborah!
Would you mind telling me the name of the site that puts writers in touch with other writers? My mother has self-published her first book but doesn't have any social media experience, so I think a site like that might help her. Thanks Deborah :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...