life · writing

I Finished My Novel Twice



Yes, I made my deadline! Yay! I finished Summer Rush Draft 2.0 at 2:08 AM this morning, and I’m telling you, I’m bushed. But my mind is still at work, thinking of a few things I want to tweak as still part of Draft 2, before I type the whole thing up on Tasha.

I’m curious: am I the only one who gets the same, gleeful rush at finishing the second draft as I did finishing the first one? Because I’m pretty ecstatic. I know this draft is pretty bad, particularly towards the end, but I’m still proud of it. I’ve only ever written more than one draft of a novel once before, so this is still a new feeling for me.

Anyway, we all know how I love my lists. You had to know one was coming. Dun dun dun.

5 Things I Learned While Writing Draft 2 of My Novel

5. Your characters always have a new facet of themselves to show you. I learned more about my characters in this second draft than when I actually wrote their bios for the first draft. I’d seen them in action, and now I could question and analyze their reasons behind their actions. My most Mary-Stu-ish character turned out to be a fascinating and complex girl who I’m still learning more about.

4. Know the purpose of each scene. Whenever I got stuck rewriting a scene, I stopped and asked myself: what is the purpose of this scene? Once I knew what the scene was trying to accomplish, it was a cinch to figure out how to do it. I had to cut a scene that I absolutely loved, but absolutely could not find a purpose for. I’ll miss it, but my novel is all the better for its absence.

3. Sticky notes are invaluable. I’ve always been a bit of a sticky note addict, but now I’m really in love with them. I have dozens of them stuck to the pages of my novel, with little notes and observations written on them – even a reminder to flip my load of laundry, which really shouldn’t be there. But anyway. They were particularly helpful during read-throughs, when I wasn’t ready to make changes just yet.

2. Your critique partner is worth her weight in gold. B, YOU ARE PRICELESS! She’s always pointing out things I would never think of, critiquing her novel is fun and helps me read my own work more critically, and she’s all-around fabulous. All of you who don’t have one should get one immediately.

1. Don’t just print your novel – get it bound! I had three hundred pages of Summer Rush to deal with every day. Not fun. I’d tried keeping it together with a giant rubber band; it was a headache in disguise. So when I printed it this latest time, I had it bound with a plastic coil. It’s turned out to be a lifesaver, and so much neater and easier to work with.

So, Summer Rush Draft 2.0 is done. I’m exhausted. May is over. June and Summer Rush Draft 3.0 are coming in a matter of hours.

But who cares? I finished my novel twice!


3 thoughts on “I Finished My Novel Twice

  1. YEAH! Good for you ;D

    I’ll have to keep number four in mind for my second draft! Very helpful, and I have to agree heart and sould with number 2! I wouldn’t give up Carrie for anything!

    1. So true. Quite honestly, the only two novels I’ve ever gotten very far in rewriting were ones that I had crit partners for. I don’t know what I’d do without em! 🙂

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