5 Things To Do When The First Draft Is Finished

I’m just one or two short chapters from the end of the first draft. After seven months and 150,000 words I honestly wondered if this moment would ever come. But the end is in sight. So what now?

1. Celebrate

That’s right, I’m going to crack open a beer, sit back and congratulate myself. Hey, I just wrote a 150,000 word novel! That’s a hell of an achievement and I’m going to enjoy.

2. Ignore it

This step confuses everyone. The first draft is not the finished product. There are some substantial rewrites to perform, lots of editing and polishing. But it’s always easier to criticise someone else’s work. Ignoring it for a few months will help me forget enough of it that it will seem like someone else’s work.

3. Revisit some short stories

Until recently the market for short stories was practically non-existent. But self-publishing circumvents the need for a market and goes straight to the reader. So I’m going to pull out my old short stories and see if any of them are any good. You have been warned.

4. Write the next novel

What, you didn’t think I was a one trick pony, did you? No, while I’m waiting for my eyes to get all fresh and critical, I’ll be writing the next novel. This one is going to have fewer fairies and dragons and more vampires. (Disclaimer: none of them will glitter, shimmer, shine or sparkle.)

5. Cut up the first draft

Once enough time has elapsed I’m going to return to the first draft, read it through and then decimate it. The first draft ate everything in sight, but it’ll be packed off to the gym to work through a Rocky montage and emerge as the lean, taut second draft. Fewer adverbs, fewer tangents and fewer characters; I’ve already found two that won’t be making it and no-one else is safe.

What about you? What do you do when your first draft is complete?

Talking rot or making sense? I'd like to hear your two cents!