First draft done ;-)

first-draft-wordcount2I finished the first draft of my novel today. I high-fived everyone in the house, took the picture of my final page and word counts (above). Now it's time to set a plan down for executing a revision that I'd be happy sharing with beta readers who can guide me to the parts of the story that need more work. I promised my wife I'd have that beta draft ready by January 31st and I need to find four or five other beta readers, but the timeline is manageable.

There are 31 days in January. One is now passed. I need tomorrow to print off the story so I can work on it. I have work and personal obligations that will take nine of those precious days away as well. So, I have twenty working days to accomplish the following:

1) Read through each of the seven main sections of the book, make notes on fixes I need to make, make those revisions.

2) Map out every main character's story within the story make sure each character is different from the others, that they have a story of their own that follows the arc of the book, and make sure they all need to exist (that they serve the story) and aren't just there because I thought they would be cool.

3) I have a male-female relationship at the center of the book. I need to check how that relationship develops and engineer a deeper tension between the two characters so readers will be more satisfied with the way it resolves.

4) I have a basic conflict/mystery in the book. Now I've written the end and I'm very clear on how that mystery resolves, I want to go back through every scene that involves this mystery and make sure they clearly lead from the state of not knowing any answers to the mystery to the state of knowing exactly what the mystery is.

If I spend two days on each of these bullet points (two days to review and make revisions to each section and two days on each additional bullet point), I'll finish the revision by January 31st. It will take discipline to progress a little each morning before work and stay with it after work if need be, but I am focused on the goal and I am planning to give myself a reward every time I hit a daily goal; begin potting and time-lining the first mystery I will start writing as soon as I hand off the beta draft of this story to my beta readers.

So here's to my New Year's Resolution; to be disciplined about seeing the plans I make through.

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