Saturday, October 16, 2010

Milestones

There is so much work that goes into a manuscript. It can be a struggle to shape an idea into a coherent story. Fully developed characters take effort to craft. Research can be time-consuming and will sometimes send your plot on a whole new tangent. There's days when the words come so slowly you wonder why you bothered to open the document.

But there are also days when the words flow like a river, when everything comes together and your story winds up in a place you didn't even know it was headed, but it's so perfect it couldn't be better if you'd planned it. With all the hard, lonely work writing can be, it's important to enjoy those little triumphs. The big ones should be celebrated, too.

I'm not a very fast writer so in the three years since I've been writing seriously, there haven't been that many manuscripts to get as far as a finished first draft. That is still a new and exciting feeling, one worth celebrating. I've been working on this novella for about two months now. After I let my critique partner have time to read it and give myself a little break from it, I'll work on revising it and getting into shape to submit. There's a lot more work ahead, but for right now I'm going to enjoy the fact that I have a completed first draft sitting in my hard drive.

Not that my celebrations are particularly extravagant. "Loud music" pretty much covers it. Usually something that has to do with the story, music that either reflects the mood of the story or is referenced directly, or best of all, both. For this novella it was Led Zeppelin III. The album served as background music in one scene and I listened to the tracks from the second half several times while writing. It may not seem like much, but it's nice to kick back and bask in the glory of a completed manuscript to the tune of Bron-Y-Aur Stomp.

What do you do to celebrate reaching writing milestones?

1 comment:

Nerine Dorman said...

Celebrate? Start day-dreaming and outlining the next plot. I think the big thing for me is getting my butt on the chair to work on my revisions. I normally just let them fly, so I am especially excited when I finish revisions, write the chapter breakdown, create the overview then write the query letter. That is an excitement of its own because it's the start of the rollercoaster rejection rounds.

But seriously? The true celebration comes in when I can allow myself to start a fresh manuscript. I've way too many stories flying around on my hard drive as 16-word summaries.