What Happens After You Finish Your First Draft #AmWriting

So, you know my BIG news from this week, that WIP is finally a fully formed first draft!

#AmWriting

What is a writer supposed to do once it is all done?

I’ve had many tell me to put it to bed for a little while, before reading it again.

Then, get it out, read it, and start the LOOOOOONG process of editing, and redrafting, getting it beta-read, redrafting, editing, re-reading, more editing… you get the picture…

If it took me 18 years to write the first thing, I may be finally ready to publish in, oh, about 2050! Then it could be classed as historical fiction too!

And all this before thinking of covers and actual publication, and suchlike!

I’m at a loss… Do I think to send it off to traditional publishers or do I go Indie, like I did with my poetry book, Poetic RITUals?

Pah, I’ll think about that after getting some opinions on the manuscript, I think.

Still, the idea of putting it to bed straight away was hard for me.

I wanted a paper copy.

I know many of you said you edit on screen, the paper edit is too tiresome and very paper-heavy… But the feel of that first tome… it just had to be done.

My home printer wouldn’t have coped.  I contacted someone local who does printing, and arranged to pop in on Friday morning to get it all ready for me so I could have my copy to scribble on, and generally cherish.

I had it saved on my cloud, my machine, my hard drive and a USB stick, ready for print-off…

But I couldn’t let it lie, could I?

Oh no!

I thought I’d do a quick (Quick? Who was I kidding, there were 300 pages to go through!) spell-check and edit via the Word editor and Grammarly. I did start off with ProWritingAid, which promises so much, but it kept crashing the programme… Sorry, I am not risking losing all those words!

All was going well, then I realised there were a couple of schoolkid errors, like consistency with how I’d written certain words. And Word has a great Find and Replace tool to change them all…

So I used it with a couple of words – all good!

Then I wanted to change Er to Err… as it appeared to show in one of the editors as the best way to write that procrastination “Err” in speech.

So I did it, and instead of changing what I wanted, it changed EVERY word with the letters er in, to having Err in it instead!

mothErr, fathErr, sistErr, watErr… you get my drift?

And it wouldn’t undo!

I was up until midnight trying to correct as many as I could… after all I had a 9.30am appointment with a printer!

Woke up and was determined to get the niggles ironed out before going.

I even found a great discount on the Grammarly Premium… 50% off!

So excited was I that I went through the whole thing!

And it took me to 12 noon!

Dang!

Well, I got the kids ready (remember, I have little-ish people to look out for too) and we raced into town.

The girl at the shop was expecting me. Her colleague was the one I had spoken to, and she was prepared for the mammoth print and bind job that was due in.

She read my mini blurb as it printed, and mentioned that it was intriguing… I liked that! (I left her with my blogger business card!)

Then we left the precious manuscript with her to be bound, whilst I fed the kids and got my nails done – my treat for myself.

And here it is…

I’ll put it to bed now, honestly… for a little while at least, but I’ve tucked it away with some special bedmates, ready for editing…

Post-its and pencils!
Gotta be done!
When I get to the next stage, I’ll be sure to update you all!

133 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: How Long it Takes to Create a Novel Isn’t Important, Writing it is. Inspiration From Author Ritu Bhathal #IWSG | Fiction is Food
  2. Jack Wolfe Frost
    May 01, 2018 @ 08:36:32

    My advice… just don’t leave it too long. It’s happened to me and many others, they come back after 6 months and it’s like “OMG! Did I write this pile of poo?”. Sounds like it’s been left long enough now. Time for the hard work to start! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Ritu
    Apr 24, 2018 @ 12:02:28

    That all really helps Terry!
    I’m glad I’m not the only find and replace victim!
    I will definitely get it properly checked before any submission times.
    I am finding it hard, but I have left it for over 2 weeks so far already, before trying to reread and start that editing process!
    Thank you!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Terry Tyler
    Apr 24, 2018 @ 07:45:35

    I’ve done that ‘search and replace’ thing, too – changed Tom to Jake and ended up with lots of Jakeorrows and Jakeatoes throughout the book!

    Finishing your first first draft is a wonderful feeling – congratulations! Now you have something to work on. After many, many novels, I always think ‘phew’ and sit back for a moment when the 1st draft is done… the hard part is over. Redrafting is much nicer – it’s honing your work into something publishable.

    My advice – don’t worry about the detail, like small grammatical errors – that is what your proofreader is for. Because you WILL get a proofreader before you send it to a publisher or agent, or publish yourself, won’t you? ALL writers need them. My punctuation is almost 100% (it’s my THING!), but I still need a proofreader, and she will still find up to 500 errors in every manuscript.

    One of the mistakes that debut writers sometimes make is being so excited about their first draft that they publish or submit too soon. Most experienced novelists do up to 10 draftsI do 6, then two last read throughs. Don’t worry, they get easier! And the time to send it to an editor is when you think it’s finished, not before.

    Hope all that helps, and well done, once more!

    Like

    Reply

  5. You Can Always Start Now
    Apr 21, 2018 @ 12:22:37

    For me there is just something about having a paper copy that feels safe. I use Microsoft OneNote for writing. I use it to keep track of characters, scenes and plot lines as like a binder on line. Congrats this is major so excited for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. foodzesty
    Apr 19, 2018 @ 04:59:07

    Congrats!!! Ritu!!! So so curious to read it 🙂 Huge hugs keep going sweet lady!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Jennie
    Apr 16, 2018 @ 21:50:30

    Congratulations!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. amelia
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 22:53:10

    This is truly amazing Ritu, congratulations! Editing is rough, but you’re so close to the finish line now.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. willowdot21
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 19:37:33

    You are just soooo, brilliant 💜💝💗

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog)
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 18:46:03

    I completely understand you wanting that paper copy in your hands – congratulations on finishing and having a printed, bound “nearly book”. Very, very keen to read it – remember you have a beta reader ready and waiting here. I love your poetry book if that helps!! C x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. OIKOS™-Redaktion
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 16:28:06

    Congratulations!!! Good work! I think i will publish my first book in my next life. LOL
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. OIKOS™-Redaktion
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 16:26:53

    Reply

  13. Ruth Daly
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 16:14:13

    Congratulations on getting it done! Definitely leave it a while before editing. I always catch far more mistakes after I’ve left it a few months (I know, I know, that’s a long time) than if I edit right away. And I’m always amazed at the things I end up changing or completely deleting. Anyhow, I’ll be following your journey as you decide whether to self or traditionally publish – that’s the point I’m at, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 14, 2018 @ 16:16:53

      Thank you so much Ruth!
      The whole publishing decision is a hard one. As a self published author, you need a lot of time to do the promotions, approach stores to stock your book… then the whole financial thing… do you open a business account… do taxes… do you need an accountant?
      If you go the traditional route there are lots of avenues that are already paved for you, but then, you lose certain control…
      I don’t know! It’s too much to even think!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • Ruth Daly
        Apr 14, 2018 @ 16:23:37

        Some of my friends have self-published and find the self-promotion &marketing side of things so time-consuming and exhausting. That’s what puts me off. But getting a book accepted by a publisher is so difficult – I don’t know what to do, either!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Apr 14, 2018 @ 16:26:18

        It’s that age-old conundrum that us authors have faced… at least the indie route is open to us. It was too hard to do that before! Then there’s vanity publishing…

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Melissa ❤️🙂🌴
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 13:01:52

    Congratulations on your labour of love 🥂! I hear you on the editing bit. I always have to print documents that require the red ink pen and post-its and notes in the margins. I cannot edit on the screen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. Shallow Reflections
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 11:09:08

    Congratulations, Ritu! What a lot of work you’ve done with more ahead. But a labor of love. I use both Hemingway and Grammarly to help with editing. I find Grammarly very helpful indeed. -Molly

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. Carmen | Wellington World Travels
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 10:23:36

    OMG! I am so excited for you! Looking forward to it! Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. Phil Taylor
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 09:52:02

    Absolutely fantastic! I can’t wait to follow your process. I’m excited for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. noellekelly
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 09:44:11

    As we already discussed, the feeling of the printed copy in your hand is just awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  19. LaurenEph
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 08:58:20

    Woohoo! Well done! I always like to read through a paper copy when I’m editing too! X

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. fancypaperblog
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 08:32:49

    Congratulations and looking forward to reading it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 08:30:00

    I would need to print it as well. It’s so much more REAL when printed, and real book in printed form. Yay!! you!! You have given me hope that some day I may finish mine…..someday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  22. Fiona Maclean
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 08:27:33

    What a great name (Wedded Stress!!! ). I look forward to reading the final thing – very exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  23. Gary
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 08:25:27

    Ooh, I was waiting for the “I’ve printed it” post after our long discussion yesterday! Bit different when it’s not on a screen isn’t it. Really in your face I made that stuff. Flipping the page edges with pride. Leaving it on the table and inviting guests for coffee…. “What’s this?” They ask…. “Just my book manuscript don’t you know….”

    Love it. Well done Ritu. Now, as Lucy said. Let it rest for a bit. Breathe and set a date to go back. Too early and it’s harder to spot stuff because your mind is still inside the pages. #GaTu

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  24. Aimer Boyz
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 04:15:22

    OMG! That err kerfluffle? I would have had a freaking melt down !
    You must be so thrilled, all your words, all your pages right there in your arms. It’s a major accomplishment, enjoy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  25. Dan Antion
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 22:48:13

    Good luck as you move through this.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  26. Masha
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 21:31:22

    I wonder how anyone can write a first draft and publish, even just a blog post, because for me I have to leave it rest because always when I go back to it I see the changes that need to be made. You deserve a good celebration now.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Apr 13, 2018 @ 21:42:29

      Now blogging I kinda do on the hop… I write and hit publish !
      But this… it’s different!
      Thank you! I’ll try and sleep on it for a while before trying to look at it again objectively!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  27. Erika Kind
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 20:56:13

    It is not a piece of cake to publish a book. Sometimes those little things are the meanest and can drive us nuts! You made it!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  28. Lucy Mitchell
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 20:19:46

    Congrats that is such an achievement!

    I always find letting it rest is hard. First because you don’t want to be parted from it and then when you do go back to it you end up groaning because it inevitably needs more work.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  29. Penny Wilson Writes
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 20:00:34

    So happy for you to have that first completed draft!! I know I’ll take a few years yet to get there. I was going through the awful habit of editing as I was writing. I was getting no where! so i understand the urge to edit, edit, edit!! Congrats anyway, it’s a HUGE accomplishment!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  30. josypheen
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 19:52:55

    Yaaaay go Ritu!

    Give me a shout if you need help proofreading. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  31. Allie P.
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 19:16:03

    Yep – I’ve had some of those find and replace joys. I am much better about adding blank spaces to my search like Err so it doesn’t do quite as much damage.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  32. Judy E Martin
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:50:29

    Congratulations, Sis.Wow, it looks impressive already and I am definitely looking forward to reading it. Don’t rush it though especially as you have taken so long to get it to this stage. The manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo I wouldn’t leave it alone but hadn’t done it properly at all before giving it to Beta readers, and it was nowhere near ready! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  33. lbeth1950
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:46:55

    Are you looking for a Beta readers?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  34. April Munday
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:41:33

    Whatever you do, please don’t rely on Grammarly.It’s good for spotting words used in the wrong place, but not much else. It’s approach to comma usage is bizarre. You’re really much better off buying a grammar book and working your way through it.

    I’ve been seeing some weird things in recently-published books, and I think some of them are down to Grammarly and writers who are not confident about grammar, or who don’t think it’s important to learn it. Words and grammar are a writer’s basic tools, so we should understand how to use both. You’ll note from the first sentence in this paragraph that sometimes I just can’t be bothered. You should also note that Grammarly thinks that sentence is fine as it is.

    Trust yourself or learn the skills that will enable you to trust yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  35. Shivangi
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:41:23

    Good luck Ritu… sweat and blood goes into writing 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  36. mistybooks
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:37:00

    You’re ahead of me – mine was only 16 years.😳
    Draft 17 & it’s not right yet! 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  37. pranabaxom
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:33:34

    Take a deep breath, inhale and slowly exhale. Repeat. Son you will be in deep meditation and the answer will come to you. Oh shit, this was meant for the religion class. does not matter, it should work for your purpose too and as an added bonus you may lose some weight, not that I am saying you need to lose some. Oh my, there I go in a tangent again.
    Good luck Ritu.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  38. scr4pl80
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:31:52

    Congrats! So cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  39. The Story Reading Ape
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:12:19

    Good Luck editing, Ritu (start about three months from now) 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  40. indishe
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:01:34

    Kudos to you!
    18 years shows lot of love for your characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  41. Fourth Generation Farmgirl
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:00:23

    What a huge accomplishment, Ritu!! So exciting! 🙂🎉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  42. chris jensen
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 18:00:06

    With all that said an done… Now i know that i don’t want

    create a poetry book…

    Just doesn’t seem worth the heartache…

    smiles chris

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  43. keen peach
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 17:55:41

    Congratulations Ritu!! So exciting!!! 🎉🎊🎉

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  44. E R Kendrich
    Apr 13, 2018 @ 17:43:54

    Well done on completing your first draft – very admirable. I’m still working slowly through mine. It makes me feel better to hear yours took eighteen years! Good luck with the editing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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