I've finished the first draft of my novel - now what?
It's been a while since I've updated this blog and my big news is that I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY BOOK!
I've written about why this took a few weeks more than I predicted, but now I have finished, I can now truthfully say that I've written a book.
Writing a novel is such a long a difficult process that I think that it's really important first to acknowledge and second to really celebrate any successes that come along the way. There are an awful lot of people who say that they would like to write a book "someday." Of those, it's a small minority who ever actually start writing their book. Of those, there are only a very small minority who actually finish their book. So now I've finished, I feel like I'm one of the winners.
So, given that the first draft of All of our Tomorrows is now complete, the question becomes: What happens next?
Well, next I need to edit it. I love novels with great characters, with depth, foreshadowing and intricate, interweaving plot lines. My favourite novel of the year so far is Andrea Levy's Small Island. Last year's favourite Fever by Deon Meyer and both of these novel have these qualities in spade. This sort of book that I've attempted to write but All of our Tomorrows is not there - yet.
I can see that I've gone a little overboard with the subplots which means that in its current state, the novel is too long and too baggy. At the moment, the main plot about a modern-day plague is a little lost amongst all the other relationships and politics that I've put in. This means that I have a lot of work to do make it more punchy, more streamlined and more fun.
A lot of writing advice out there says that I should put my story away for 4-6 weeks before starting to edit it, but I have a very clear idea of not only what needs to be changed, but how it needs to be changed. Therefore, I'm ignoring that advice and getting stuck straight into the edits. When I've made these crude, structural changes to the book, then I'll consider putting it away for a few weeks, to gain some perspective before polishing it in the third draft.