Final First Draft of 2017

So long 2017! It’s been something. Well, on top of entering my final year of grad school, 2017 proved to be more of a year for writing, rather than editing. I am more than happy to have had one book release this year but 2018 is looking like it will be more of a year of output. In otherwords, visible results rather than the rough draft inputs I’m used to doing.

Today, December 28th, I completed my final rough draft of 2017. At 84k words this marks my fourth full-length manuscript of the year, none of which I have actually edited. I can’t help it, even now I am looking at my computer thinking about a couple of ideas I have for novels I wouldn’t mind starting, but discipline in writing and writing goals, is what got me to the point where I have more than two handfuls of rough drafts on my computer.

Since I began this writing journey in 2014, I have practiced and developed my own writing style, and I must admit it has been a blast to watch myself develop as a writer and experiment with different approaches.

However, I know I have reached my peak unless I am willing to now practice a new form of author discipline. That of actually completing the novel. While having close to a million words of unedited manuscripts on my computer is a personal accomplishment, it is not one that brings measurable success. No one is rewarded for the potential of their work, and no one develops a fan base by simply typing up new manuscripts that never leaves the vault.

That is why 2018 will be the year of editing. I have four manuscripts lined up and plan on dedicating 2 months on each (with some leeway of course. Part of the reason I’ve left four months open).

Currently, I am trying to decide which manuscript I want to start 2018 with. I have narrowed it down to two.

  • The Absolute, which is a story about a painter who lost faith in God and returns to his hometown when he is commissioned to paint the new chapel. There he finds faith does not have to come in the form of one belief, but rather finding a purpose to live for.

 

  • The Pathetic Tycoon, which is an action based book dealing with themes of legacy and self-worth. The main plot is a rescue of the protagonist’s little brother from the hands of the most respected criminal in the city. The secondary plot is about the rivalry between the criminal’s lifelong attempt to legitimize his business, and the protagonist’s best friend, who inherited his parents’ empire upon their premature passing.

The longest edit will probably be the 130k word satire I wrote over the summer about a future world where all labor is completely automated and the only place for humans to exist is in celebrity and innovation (since machines can’t create anything new on their own). The fourth book will either be the one I just finished writing today or Something About Maude which has been on my (To Be Edited) list forever!

It’s kinda funny how all the hard work really begins once you finish the rough draft, but it’s also when you see the most results. I always joke that writing is more satisfying than editing because you get that instant gratification of word count goals and seeing something come from a blank page. But editing brings the long-term satisfaction. The sort of results that could last a lifetime if you’re lucky. All that work I put into writing in 2017 will make all the opportunities I find in 2018 possible.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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