Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Draft Done! Now What?

This has been a great writerly week for me. 

It started on Tuesday, when I got an e-mail from Hogglepot, a fantasy webzine, that they did indeed want to publish my story, Bear Hug, in February.  Yay! 

Bear Hug is the first contemporary fantasy story I wrote, and I really wanted people to read it - not because I think it's the best story I ever wrote, but because I genuinely like the story.  The ending came with a flash of inspiration, not planning. I think that is when my muse introduced herself to me.

I will post when it is up over at Hogglepot, in case you want to take a peek!  I have been reading their webzine since I found the listing on duotrope and I've enjoyed the stories they have run.  If you like quirky fantasy, I suggest you check them out!

Then, on Wednesday, I finally finished the first draft of Finding Meara.  Yay!

However, my reaction when I put down the final period baffled me.  I don't know what I expected to happen, but I can tell you what didn't happen.

A choir of angels did not come down from heaven to sing the hallelujah chorus.

A marching band didn't parade through my living room, playing kick-you-know-what music.

President Obama didn't call me from the Oval Office, offering congratulations on a job well done.

What did happen:  I sat very still on my couch, and thought "That's it?"  And then my next thought was, "Now what?"

I wondered if there was something wrong with me.  I still don't have the need to do a happy dance.  I could analyze myself to death about why I am feeling... well... nothing, really, but I think it would be a waste of time.  This week I read an excellent post at The Write Practice called Your Successes Will Never Be Successful Enough, so I'm just going to link it here.

I'm not whining, mind you.  Finishing the first draft of Finding Meara is a milestone on the journey to becoming a novelist, for sure.  I am happy to have finished, and proud of the work I have done so far.  But it is only one of those action steps every writer must take on the path to publication.  

The answer to my "Now what?" is, of course, revisions, writing more stories, and learning how to write query letters, a synopsis, a "blurb," a pitch, and so one. Already I am planning my next few months, fitting my writing goals into the cracks of time left over in my everyday life.

But, I am going to take the lesson learned from Joe Bunting at the Write Practice, and enjoy this successful week for what it is. 

Because I finished my first draft, I am going to take a four day holiday (instead of just two days) from writing, and enjoy my Christmas, and my family, and not worry about the novel.

And I am going to wish you all a very merry Holiday Season!  I hope it is filled with peace and contentment and all the important things!


  1. Congratulations! Perfect timing! Enjoy the Holidays!

    Merry Christmas.

  2. Yay! Great news. Here's a great blog post, just a couple of days ago at Terry's Place. It's from an editor about how to proceed with your book after finishing the first draft:

    The journey's just begun, but a large hurdle has been crossed!

  3. Thanks, Kelley and thanks, Cindy for the link. It's just the kind of information I'm looking for!

  4. Congratulations on finishing your draft, Lara. Success is a funny thing. You can chase it forever and never find it but be happy. And you can find it and be miserable because it's not enough. Most of the time, you just have to choose to be content (which is not the same as settling). I'm glad that post spoke to you and that you were able to take some rest. When it's over, get back to work! :)

  5. Thank you, Joe, for stopping by! Contentment is definitely something to shoot for, I think. Success runs in peaks and valleys, contentment is a steady supply of warm fuzzies. The challenge is finding that balance of seeking success, while being mindful of the important things that create the warm fuzzies! Your post was a great call to mindfulness!

  6. Congrats on both! Finishing a draft is an amazing accomplishment in itself! Enjoy your time off and the holidays :)

  7. Thanks so much, Hope! I hope you have a great holiday, too!

  8. Aloha Lara,

    Ohhh, I'm so jealous, but WELL DONE you:) Now, take a little time to relax and enjoy the fruitcake :)

    PS... here is my reply to your comments (I'm not sure if you get an auto-reply?)
    @ Lara: Hey, they're *not* somber at all - and I'm glad to lighten your heart :) You're right, though...I'm still working on the memoir, but already thinking about the next project, but we got to keep moving, right:)

  9. Thanks, Mark! However, fruitcake is not a favorite in this household! I'll be making sugar cookies tomorrow, though! How sweet of you to deliver your comments, by the way. I'm not sure how all that "stuff" works but I probably ought to figure it out! Have a great Christmas with your boys and family!

  10. Congratulations, Lara! I'm closing in on the last story in my first short story collection. I'm wondering what that will feel like, but knowing what comes after (editing, layout for epublishing, marketing, etc.), I'm not sure I'll be doing the happy dance either. Enjoy your time off with family :-)

  11. Thanks, Eric! That's great news to have your short story collection almost done. E-pubbing is a big job, but you'll have a book when you're done. That's darn cool!

  12. I got the same feeling getting a contract. I expected more fanfare. From where, I'm not sure.

  13. Hi, Jen! I think, for me at least, I build things up in my head, and then when I get there it isn't as big a deal as I thought. I'll get prepared for the same feeling when (optimistic, I am!) I get an agent/publisher for my book! ;)

  14. Congrats on the finished draft and for 'Bear Hug' getting accepted -- I can't wait to read it! 2012 is already a successful writing year for you (and will get even better once it's underway)!


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