First Draft

NaNoWriMo if fully underway and I’m roughly 9,000 words behind. Luckily I’m finally feeling better. With the slow start I figure if I write 3,000 words a day I will catch up by the end of the week.

So why push myself to get this next story written? The answer is simple; it’s to get the story out of my head and on to paper. Then the hard part begins, I can begin the editing process. This was something that I unfortunately learned the hard way.

My earliest notes for my novel were from 2006. I would start writing the story, and then stopped to start another project, and then I would start again. This cycle continued till 2013. That’s when I started to work solely on this project. I didn’t finish the first draft till March 2015. The first draft took me roughly 18 months to finish.

When I finished the first draft something clicked inside me. I wanted to see my book finished and in print. While finishing the first draft was a great accomplishment, I feel that taking a year and a half to write it is unacceptable. Looking back I wish I was as dedicated to my writing as I am now.

By finishing your first draft it changes the outlook of your writing. It shows you that being a novelist is possible. Soon after I finished my first draft I had the opportunity to listen to handful of published writers speak. They all spoke on the importance of getting the first draft. If you want to be a novelist, not just a weekend writer, you need to write nonstop till that first draft is done.

Take me for example. It took me 18 months to write the first draft. Once it was completed it only took me 6 months to finish the second draft. Your first draft is your jumping off point.

Learn from my mistake and don’t take forever to finish that first draft. Write it, and write it fast. Get those ideas out of your head. Make the story come to life. The story doesn’t have to be perfect, that’s what editing is for. Just make sure you don’t start editing until the first draft is completely done.

NaNoWriMo Progress
Book 2 First Draft
5321 Words

Alpha Readers

The Book is done, well sort of. The second draft is done. It’s currently in the hands a select few to find everything wrong with it. So why only a select few, why not give a copy to everyone I know?

Since your book is written in stages it should also be read in stages. For example, my first draft was only read by my wife. After she gave me her input I did some major editing. Things drastically changed from the first to the second draft. Currently the second draft is being reviewed by my Alpha Readers which consist of my wife and five more people. After receiving their feedback I will write draft three and then give it to any adult in my family that wish to read it. The fourth draft will be given to the adults and the kids.

I personally found it difficult picking my Alpha Readers. I have plenty of family members who want to read the book unfortunately I had to narrow it down to only a small handful. Don’t choose your readers in fear of who will be offended if they are not chosen. I spent months determining who was going to be my readers. It was not an easy task.

When choosing your Alpha Readers you need to make sure that they are aware that they aren’t reading the book just to read it. Their job is to go line by line seeing what works and what doesn’t work in the story. In some cases they will be as familiar with the story as you are.

As the author it is your job to decide what your Alpha Readers are looking for. Since this is the largest writing project I have ever worked on I asked them to look for several things pertaining to the story. How does it flow, does anything not make sense, things like that.

My plan was to give my readers a hard copy of the manuscript. I received some pushback with them asking for it electronically. At first I thought, no I want them to have it in hand and write their notes on the page. Soon after I took a step back and thought about it. They are doing me a favor by reading the book. They are taking time out of their lives to read and take notes about my book. I needed to be courteous of their needs.

Now I wait to see what they have to say. I asked them to give their feedback at the end of the month. This gives them plenty of time to read and take detailed notes.

NaNoWriMo Progress
Book 2 First Draft
227 Words

How’s NaNoWriMo going for everyone? Even with this being Book 2 it’s still a new story. Since I have been spending so much time on the first book I forgot how much fun it is to begin a new project. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. Unfortunately I’m a bit under the weather so I wasn’t able to get much writing done today.