Post-Draft Emptiness

I’ve blogged a lot about what happens pre-writing, during writing, revising, editing…but never what quite happens after one is, for the time being, finished.

It’s a curious feeling.

I finished revising my third draft in late July. Since then, I’ve been editing, which means that I’ve been reading it over and not extensively rewriting. I’ve mostly been clarifying where I thought the thing needed clarifying and nit picking over specific words and sentences. I cut out a character and overall, cut a thousand words. I took my time.

But the fact is–and every writer goes through this, I think–and it’s probably more true when you’ve been working on a story for more than a year, written three drafts, and then edited the damn thing down–you can’t look at it anymore. You can’t read through it anymore. You know it too well. You know it’s not perfect, there are things about it that nag at you, but you can’t think of a way to fix this.

With this WIP, I hit that wall of “I can’t look at this” anymore recently. In other words, last week, I realized that I forgot how to write a proper sentence. My paragraphs were coming out jumbled. And I ran Spellcheck on the novel last night–whooo, boy. I turn off Spelling and Grammar check while I write because the squiggly lines from Word get on my nerves.

So what am I doing with the story? When I reached this wall after the second draft, I begged my friend Beta to read it for me. Then I plunged into the third draft which I’ve now finished editing to the best of my current ability and tolerance.

And last night, I emailed it to a beta, a new beta. Whatever you may have heard about writers sitting in corners with their laptops in the semi-dark, typing away, alone with their disturbing thoughts and voices in their heads…

Well, no, some of that is true. But we do collaborate and communicate, too. One of the best things I’ve done in my writing life is to join the AbsoluteWrite forum. I’ve “met” so many wonderful writers that way and learned a lot.

So I won’t fiddle with The Sailor’s Daughters (oh, yeah, that’s the new tentative title, by the way) for a while. It’s going to be weird not doing something with it everyday.

One of my blogger/writer friends, Krystal, wrote a post about what happens to a writer after they finish a draft. It’s called Flood Gate. Sometime over Labor Day weekend, I had two different ideas. I only had vague characters and dialogue. So I decided to write it out like a play.

Both plays are decidedly unfinished at the moment, but I might pull one of them out for NaNoWriMo. Or it could be the next project, if I can get my mind to leave Georgian England for a minute.

4 thoughts on “Post-Draft Emptiness

  1. It is such a strange feeling after we finish something, isn't it? I usually feel so bored, like what am I supposed to do with my time now? I have no writing/life balance whatsoever. Dude, I totally hate those squiggly lines, too! I'm afraid to turn it off though. I have weird names sometimes. The squiggly line lets me know I'm spelling them right. Lol! Ooh, a play! I can't wait to see what my NaNo project is. I am feeling pulled towards something, but we'll see how I feel in a month. (And hopefully I won't fall apart this time.)


  2. I always feel a little bereft when I finish a stage. I can't get into anything new right away–that's just the way I work. So I'm lost for a while. And yes, I totally get that \”I can't read it anymore\” feeling. My editor just sent me back a few pages with an idea for a change (he's doing the pre-publication copy editing, but thought of a content change it needs), and as I was working on it last night and this morning, my eyes were glazing over and my brain was switching to auto pilot. It really is time to start a new book. (FYI, I clicked over here from the AW blog thread.)


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