On writing to The End…

Last Thursday was Halloween. My girlie dressed up as Princess Leia, and our dog donned some pretty awesome Yoda ears. They got lots of compliments as we cruised through the neighborhood in search of candy…

Last Thursday was big for another reason, too…

I FINALLY finished drafting the WiP I started back in April!

Confession: It’s been three years since I finished a full first draft. Don’t misunderstand — I’ve done plenty of writing. I “won” NaNo last year, but after logging 50,012 words I realized my story was going nowhere. It was boring and utterly plotless. I haven’t opened the file since November 30, 2012. I also completely rewrote a manuscript called All Mixed Up, one I started during the summer of 2009. We’ll see where it goes. And of course, I’ve been revising my tail off, various manuscripts that have been through many, many rounds and seen many, many drafts. They’re better for it, and I’m a better writer because of the brainstorming/reworking /editing they’ve required.

But, the fact is, it’s been ages since I finished a full story, beginning-middle-end, and that realization has been looming in a very scary way for quite awhile. I’ve had all the writerly doubts: Can I really do this? Am I good enough? What if I’m never good enough? Maybe this writing thing’s not for me. The doubts and the fear have been somewhat paralyzing, to be completely honest. But, as I’ve talked about before, I just don’t have it in me to give up. So, I plotted and I drafted through a spring, summer, and fall of personal ups and downs. I Β jumped feet-first into Ready. Set. Write! and I leaned on my writing buddies, who said amazing things like you are talented and that excerpt was beautiful and hurry up and finish so I can read this story!Β Β Somehow, my little nugget of an idea grew and grew and grew into an entire manuscript.

Frankly, I’m still having trouble believing that I’m done. I wrote a whole story!

Of course, I use the term “done” very loosely. My draft is a messy, incoherent beast full of plot holes and underdeveloped supporting characters. It needs A LOT of attention. But, it’s a full draft, something to work with. There’s a semblance of plot I’m excited to amend and shape and edit. I believe in these characters and I’m energized by their stories. I can’t wait to revise!

Speaking of revising… My friend Alison Miller had the most excellent idea to use NaNoWriMo’s energy as motivation for a month of revising. We’re diving into our manuscripts today, and we’ve already recruited a few friends to join us in our own little NaNoReviseMo. We’d love it if you participated too! We’re keeping it casual with quick blog updates, Twitter writing parties (I’m HERE and Alison is HERE), and lots of cheering and encouragement. If you plan on joining, please do leave a comment so I can be sure I’m following your blog.

For now, *cheers* to finished drafts and successful revisions!


28 responses to “On writing to The End…

  1. I love those pictures πŸ™‚ your daughter (and doggie) look adorable and your smile on that second one is all kind of happy! I’m so excited for you and will be totally cheering you on. I will join from times to times as I’m deep in revisions myself…
    You can doooo it, Katy!

    • Thanks, Elodie! I’m so excited to be entering this next phase with my story, and I’m excited that I’ve got awesome friends to revise with. I’m rooting for you!

  2. Oh your daughter looks so incredibly cute! I love her costume.

    Huge congratulations on finishing. It’s so satisfying typing The End, even when you know you have revisions ahead of you!

    I’ve joined NaNoReviseMo, I’m hoping it will work as well as Ready Set Write did. Maybe see you for a Twitter writing party sometime πŸ™‚ I’m not sure how the time difference/writing times will work out, but I’m rooting for you and looking forward to more excerpts!

    • Thanks, Alexa! So excited that you’re going to revise with us. I’m online at odd hours sometimes, and I know that Elodie is in Europe, so perhaps you girls can revise together when we’re all fast asleep in America. πŸ™‚ Best of luck revising this month!

  3. Awww, love the Halloween costumes!

    Since I can’t help but edit as I write, my draft is in okay shape, but it’s insanely wordy. In the first chapter alone, I cut over 100 filler words. Oops…

    So that’s my main goal in revising – chop, chop, chop

    • My first draft is all kinds of wordy too, Jen. I hope to cut it back by at least 10K. But, I like long books and I’m apparently incapable of writing short ones, so we’ll see! Can’t wait to revise with you this month!

  4. This post put the biggest smile on my face this morning, Katy! I am so proud of you and so happy for you and so very excited about where this story is going to lead you. I know that’s sort of a lot of “so’s”, but I believe in you completely and cannot wait for the world to get to read your beautiful stories too! Wishing you the best of luck in revising, and your Princess Leia is absolutely adorable ❀

    • Thank you so much, Tem! I doubt this draft would have been finished had it not been for your support and encouragement! I can’t wait to get your incredible feedback so I can start shaping this thing into something that’s actually readable. πŸ™‚

  5. Congratulations, Katy! Your stick-to-it-iveness is inspiring (especially as I plod through the middle of a pantsed first draft). Enjoy revisions! (And the Leinie’s shandy I think you’re holding? This Wisconsin girl admires your beer choice.)

    • Ahh, the middle. I find that I can get stuck there indefinitely. I’m so bad at wrapping things up! Best of luck as you plod along, Rebecca. And yes, I’ve only recently discovered shandy and it is fantastic. And so good for me, too. πŸ˜‰

  6. So proud of you!!! Congrats!!!

  7. Congrats!!! I’m using November as NaNoReviseMo as well, it’s great motivation!

  8. Congratulations on finishing the draft! What an amazing feeling πŸ˜€

    Your daughter looks so cool! Brilliant costume choice.

  9. OMG – for SO many reasons! That pic is AWESOME and YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for finishing your draft!!! I cannot WAIT to read it. (so hurry up and revise it already. πŸ˜‰ )

  10. So happy to have started following you on IG so I could find your blog. So happy for you to have reached the end! Cheers!

  11. Rachelwrites007

    YAY KATY!!!! SO SO PROUD OF YOU! Your motivation is (hopefully!) going to help me finish this draft. I’m halfway there πŸ˜€ I really need to update my blog on my writing…I’ve been doing a lot of rewriting/new writing as I venture into this next section of my book. The sister is about to come back after being MIA for like 4-5 months — btw thank you so much for your info from your husband on that.
    (also…LOOOOOVE! C’s Leia outfit. I am so geeked out and happy she is a SW fan. I got into SW when I was a kid too…not sure if you remember but they rereleased the original trilogy with Luke/Leia etc in theaters in 1997 I went with my dad and was hooked ever since. There’s tons of books about the characters too so when she is ready to read chapter books etc πŸ™‚ )

    • Thanks, Rachel! I’m cheering for you as you work to finish your draft (and of course I’m willing to help with any Army questions!).

      We actually have a few Star Wars books floating around — some from my husband’s childhood, and some we’ve picked up at various bookstores. I didn’t see the movies until adulthood, so I’m kind of psyched that my girl is already a fan. My husband and I are proud to raise a cute little nerd. πŸ™‚

      Hope you’re having a great week, lady!

  12. Aaaaah what adorable Halloween costumes! Love it.
    And a huge CONGRATS on the finished draft! I’ve also been suffering from NaNo “wins” not equaling complete and workable drafts, but I am trying to have a better outcome this NaNoWriMo. Fingers crossed, and enjoy your NaNoReviseMo!

  13. Congrats again, Katy!!! I’ve also not written a full draft in a long time and it’s a weird feeling, so I hope I can finish my current WIP by the spring! (Famous last words…)

    If you ever need a beta, let me know! I have a feeling I’d love your manuscript. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, Ghenet! I will definitely take you up on that beta offer one of these days, and of course the feeling is mutual. Maybe we can trade manuscripts sometime down the road?

      Hope you’re having a great week!