Finishing my first draft was an unexpected letdown. After spending years working towards the specific goal of finishing a full first draft, I was done… and I was primarily left with this sense of now what? I then stepped away from the entire thing for longer than I should have, or at least longer than was necessarily… before I could muster up the motivation to start the dreaded read-through. Parts of it were good, parts of it were horrible. Overall though, it wasn’t the grammar, spelling or punctuation errors that bothered me, it was my plot.
I had adopted the pantser writing method for my first draft. My goal was to just get the words down onto paper. I knew my beginning and I knew my end… but the middle was (as still somewhat is) very hazy. And it showed. In the midst of this I read a book on outlining, which led to me taking a step back from revision… and instead towards outlining. It is now something I wish I had done from the beginning.
Because of that outline, and other revisions noted during the revision process I ended up significantly altering the primary character arc through the book. The beginning and the end still stayed the same, it was the middle that needed to change. Which was nice, because it was the middle that was bothering me to begin with. The downside though, was that instead of feeling like I had a full first draft, I now feel like I am almost writing from the beginning. Except now instead of being free to write whatever I am semi-locked into an already existing plot structure. It’s not that I can’t change it, I just know that every change leads to another change which leads to another change…. Either way. I am looking forward for this draft in progress to be done.