If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know that I finished the first draft of my first novel at the end of 2015 and have not shut up about it since (no shame. I WROTE A NOVEL). However, the fact that it’s over and done with does not by any means mean that I’m done talking about it all yet. Oh no, no, no. I’m not letting you guys off the hook just yet. Writing the first draft was only the beginning, really.
Revisions, editing, rewriting, fleshing out characters, worlds, subplots. Oh what to do next? … No really, what do I do? I’ve never been at this stage before.
Because Breaking The Curse is the first novel-child I ever spawned, I didn’t have much of a game plan when it came to the post-writing bit. The moment I crossed out “write a novel” on my long term goal list I just sat there, feeling a strange mix of relieved, empty and completely clueless as to the next step.
Naturally, I decided to scour the internets for the answer to this question. The most popular and appealing answer I found was that I should just let the draft sit for a while. Proponents of this idea claimed that in their own experience, trying to edit immediately after finishing a longer work could be stressful because they felt they were still too close to the novel, overly critical of it, and wouldn’t be able to look at it with new eyes needed to edit. This sounded perfect. After all, as much as I loved having finished my hot mess of a novel, I also hated everything about it. Those last few months working on it put me through the works, so I agreed that I needed a break. I thought 6 months sounded good.
I put it aside, didn’t even print a hard copy like I originally planned, and just went on to pursue other writing projects. The idea was that I would now be free to work on things I’d neglected for my novel — namely this blog and some short stories — to keep up my creativity and gradually forget everything about my story before June rolled around.
But here’s the thing: I can’t stop thinking it.
And consequently, I can’t seem to get my head fully around any other creative writing projects. Particularly the short stories… I’ve only written about half of one and then brainstormed others, but I can’t seem to get really engaged with any of the writing or the characters… it all seems to fall flat. I suppose that’s what working on only one story for a year will do to you.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is fuck the first plan. I’m going to begin working on my novel again. Or working around it, rather.
I’m not crazy enough to plunge right into the 270 pages of 160,000 words just yet. Partly because I wouldn’t know how or where to start and partially because if I’m being honest, the story doesn’t have a solid enough foundation for me to just begin at it again. That’s the real problem. Before I begin examining the actual story in any detail, I feel pretty certain that I need to examine weakest part of it first: the worldbuilding.
Although I like to think of myself as a semi-obsessive planner, I pantsed a lot of my way through Breaking The Curse and, as a result, didn’t get too deep into the story’s worldbuilding. So now it’s time to rectify that.
It’s quite intimidating. I’ve never gotten too far in worldbuilding because I used to be a chronic story jumper who would begin with one world and one story and then jump to the next when I got to a part that stumped me. But to be honest, I actually enjoy worldbuilding. It’s fun. It’s like a puzzle. And I love puzzles. I’m anticipating this will feel a lot like putting together one of those 5,000 piece kinds, of which about 4,500 of the pieces are just various shades of blue, but I do love a good challenge.
So expect some posts on worldbuilding from me in the future. I’m no expert, but I do like to share as I discover and learn and/or make countless mistakes. However, if you are someone who has finished and revised a story or two, I would love to hear from you too! Where did you begin? How was the transition from first to second draft? I’m fairly certain I need to work on some foundational stuff with the story first, but I’m open to suggestion and curious to hear how others approached revising a full-length work. And if you have a trick for approaching worldbuilding, I’d love to hear them.
Thanks for reading!