On Completing My First Draft

If it weren’t for my MFA program, I honestly don’t know if I would have managed to finish the first draft of my full-length novel. I’d been at it for about five years now. People go into MFA programs for different reasons and in spite of the many conversations deliberating their relevance, I can only attest to how relevant mine has been tootiredwriterfor me.  It’s given me the consistent support system that I’ve needed to push forward in my writing goals, one of which included publishing a few novellas on Amazon. It also requires that I complete a creative thesis – my novel. The first draft was done last week and these pictures were me for much of the last two months.

My novel has been a story in the making for over twenty years. After gathering up information about the places and time frame, I listened to the various voices making up the story. In one case, one character was the main character, in other editions, someone else took the helm. With the blessing of time with the program and the act of strategic planning, the story finally reshaped itself. It’s a complete overhaul from the initial first draft – that only reached approximately seventy-five percent completion. The gist was still the same, however. It was a relief to get to the page with only those two words, “The End”, and mean it.

secret-window2The final draft is due next month so revisions are now underway and I still resemble the above pictures or have moments like Johnny Depp here in Secret Window with the Slinky. Funny what can drift you away from the page or screen when deadlines force you to sit in one spot for hours. It can even be a dot on the wall. However, this process isn’t as daunting as the first part. The entire narrative is making much more sense. Pieces are falling into place better. Dialogue is sharper and becoming fine-tuned. Character motives are understood. My characters are not merely telling me what’s happened, they’re now clarifying things for me.

Since it’s a historical novel, research is required and my blog hiatus will continue a little while longer. Even with books from four different regional libraries, I still need to trek down to the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society – and I can’t wait. This is when I’m happy I can’t find everything on the internet. I miss working with microfiche.



15 thoughts on “On Completing My First Draft

  1. I completely second all your comments here, Sister! I feel like I’m in an alternate-parallel dimension reading my own thoughts–wow! I found myself nodding my head–Yes, yes–as I read about the MFA experience and how it’s helped the writing of the book, and, and….
    And, um, let me know when you are planning to head down to the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society, as they are on my list for this summer! (Note my “Virginia Calling: Field Research Trip 2016” blog post from a few days ago!)
    P.S. I really, really can’t wait to read your book now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you hear my “whoopie” from the other coast, Sis?! In the meantime, I’ll be there next week, but I’ll trek back there anytime!! Can’t wait! I must admit the research – even the online – is turning out to be pretty grueling, but I’m certain a portion is the perfectionist in me. Thanks for sharing your post! I missed it… I’m supposed to get notifications :-/ I look forward to seeing you too! And thanks for your support here! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! So that’s what that noise was… 🙂 Okay, I’m going to keep you posted when I figure out my dates. I have a giant list of places to visit once I get out there. And…GRUELING would be the word for it. Yep. And time-consuming and tedious. But also amazing when you stumble onto unexpected finds, no?! xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tee hee! I know!! Then making sure your time line matches with events and vice versa! Our own little world in a world. I’m so looking forward to seeing you! xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

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