My Writing Week: Finishing the First Draft…and More Goats

From paying gigs to meeting goals, it’s been an exciting week in my writing world. The biggest news being…

The First Draft of Book Two of The Osteria Chronicles Is Done!

Yesterday I was finally able to slap a big THE END on the first draft of what will eventually become Book Two of my fantasy series The Osteria Chronicles (working title – The Voyage). I started from a four-page outline and ended up with 200 pages of handwritten text over approximately six weeks of writing six days a week. My goal was to finish the draft by the end of the month – I made it with over a week to spare! Phew!

The first draft, complete with messy scrawls, notes in the margin, and doodles!

The first draft, complete with messy scrawls, notes in the margin, and doodles!

My process for first drafts is a bit helter skelter, and as you may remember, first drafts are hideous things. I do outline each chapter with notes regarding the basics of what will happen in that chapter and write out character sketches, but this doesn’t mean everything is fleshed out. Some conflicts throughout the plot line sort of fizzle out or don’t seem very “conflict-y” and need much more work to make them viable and interesting.

Also, events tend to happen or character traits tend to pop up that could be construed as out of place or a bit too convenient, so I make notes saying I need to go back and hint at these things earlier on. Of course, I’m not patient enough to figure out the exact spot where this needs to happen and end up just flipping to a few chapters back and making a note in the margin. I can see the uber-planners and -outliners out there cringing, but somehow that works for me (and saves time when cranking out the first draft).

And unfortunately, I do tend to “crank” first drafts out. I have notes all over the place reminding myself to slow down, set the pace, take time with the setting. I pay heed to those notes for maybe the first three chapters and then I just want to get the story out of my head and onto paper. Because, really, that’s what first drafts are for – laying down the story, determining how the plot points play out, and getting your characters through every ordeal you’ve designed for them.

So what happens in subsequent drafts? It can vary, but basically…

  • Draft 2 – Get the handwritten stuff typed out and fill in any major plot holes, make sure every character is distinguishable and believable.
  • Draft 3 – Ramp up the tension and conflict, add in more setting and character details, make sure the timeline is in order. New chapters may be added or completely rewritten in this draft to get a better understanding of the characters. Draft 3 tends to get me pretty close to how the book looks in the final draft.
  • Draft 4 – Revise whatever just doesn’t work, rewrite weird sentences, continue to nail down the timeline to make sure everything is happening in a reasonable time frame, beef up the tension a bit more, make sure the tone of each chapter is just right. After this I tend to load the manuscript and order a review copy to read over and check the layout.
  • Draft 5 – Minor changes to any remaining awkward bits, fix any grammar, spelling or punctuation problems, make sure I’ve been consistent on spelling of names.
  • Draft 6 – At least a couple months after reading Draft 5, I’ll give the book one more read over to catch those final few proofing errors.

Why so many drafts? Because indie authors have an unfortunately well-deserved reputation of putting out shoddy products. While some of this is due to ignorance of the basic rules of English, most of this shoddiness is due to being too eager to get the book out to the public. I understand this excitement, but I would much rather delay a release date for a few months and give my readers a quality product they will say good (or great) things about.

So be patient for my books – the wait will be worth it.


And The Goat

As an animal lover and a former owner of a dog that needed a wheelchair, I couldn’t help but love this story. I may consider adding this group to one of the animal welfare charities I give one percent of all my book sales to. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Click the link to see Frostie, the Baby Goat Who Ditched His Wheelchair for Dancing

or watch it on YouTube:

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6 thoughts on “My Writing Week: Finishing the First Draft…and More Goats

  1. TAWilliams says:

    I’m like you in the sense I tend to have at least 4 drafts before I’m at a place where I can really start checking on the grammar, etc. Good luck on your next drafts


  2. Carley says:

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Spending some time
    and actual effort to make a really good article…
    but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.


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