I am coming towards the completion of my first draft of the tentatively titled Macyntire & Hough. It's a really exciting and exhausting time for me because this is the first novel I've completed (or will complete...soon) post-college. I've finished novels before, but those were all during high school and none of them are publishable. They are, however, fun to look at when I want to reminisce about my old characters. It's almost like visiting old friends that I haven't seen in a while!
Coming to the finish line of my first draft, I feel like I've just run a marathon. It reminds me of being in track (the one year that I actually gave it a shot...and didn't like it very much). I've just run the three full laps around the track, but I'm nearing the end of the fourth and final lap to make it a complete mile. Still, the trick is that even though I will finish this event, I still have another one coming up: the revision.
I promised myself that before I gave anyone my draft to read for feedback, I would do them a huge favor and go through my first draft and correct all the spelling and punctuation/word usage errors that I know are there, and then, once finished, present them with a semi-cleaned up draft to read.
I also have to prepare to trust my chosen beta readers because they are looking at this thing with fresh eyes and will hopefully give me the feedback that I need to tighten and clarify and, dare I say it, cut away the fat that isn't needed. It will be tough. I've never arrived at this point for something that I vowed to publish. Some of these beta readers have been waiting a long time to read this draft - one of them at least four years. True, it wasn't this particular story, but she has been prodding me to get my fingers on the keyboard every time we go out to get ice cream or drinks. I can't wait to set the stack of paper in her hands and tell her to be brutal to it!
Now, enough time wasting on writing about writing. I need to sit down, listen to my characters, and write their "final" actions in this first novel so that they can be fixed a few weeks down the road! They've put up with me for this long, I just have to leap across the finish line and take a cool-down lap. And maybe some water, too!