You’ve finished your first draft. Congratulations!
Step One – Put It On Ice
The first thing you should do now is put your novel away for a while. At least a week, but the longer the better, so a month or two is nice. Why? Because the next step is to revise your novel and you need some distance from it.
Right after you’ve finished your novel, you are deep into your story. You know your characters, your plot events… The story and the characters are perfect in your mind.
But in reality, your novel could use some work. Nobody writes a perfect first draft. Experienced writers or people with a huge amount of raw talent may be able to write a cohesive, exciting story with fully-developed characters, building tension and just the right amount of pacing to keep the reader turning the pages in their first draft of the story. But it isn’t perfect and yours won’t be either.
So put your novel away for a while. Let it take a good long nap.
Step Two – Celebrate
It’s time to party! No matter what shape your story is in, when you have reached the end of it, you should take the time to acknowledge your accomplishment. Lots of people SAY they want to write a book. Very few actually manage to get it done. So Yay for you!
A few suggestions for how to celebrate:
- Have dinner at your favorite restaurant.
- If you have a day job, take a vacation day just for yourself.
- Treat yourself to a new book or journal.
- Download some new songs for your MP3 player to inspire your writing.
- Get a massage, a manicure, a pedicure or some other pampering ritual.
- Post about it on your blog.
- Get together with your friends or writing group.
- Create a scrapbook page or collage to mark the day.
Whatever you do, do something special and memorable for you.
After you’re done celebrating and the story is done resting, it’s time to get back to work and start the revision. We’ll cover some different methods you can use to revise your novel in the next post.