So You’ve Finished a Draft…

Happy Sunday Everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

So you’ve been working on the First Draft of a novel. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the better part of a year –at least–on the project and you’ve just gotten to write the two best words ever:

The End.

What happens next?

That what I want to talk about. Please note that the usual caveat applies. What follows, works for me, your mileage may vary.


So you’ve reached The End. What’s next?

First, you should take some time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Yes, your first draft is a hot mess–they all are, believe me. But you’ve reached The End and that is significant. You stuck it out and that deserves some recognition. Treat yourself.

Second – Put the thing away.

That’s right. Set it aside. Don’t touch it. You may be tempted to jump right in and start editing, and if you’ve got a deadline, well, that might be what you’ve got to do. If you’re not on a deadline, put it away. For me, a work needs somewhere around three to four weeks to cool. You need that time to put some distance between you and the work. Work on something else. Knock out a short story and submit it. Do anything but start editing right away.

The third thing you’ll need to do is figure out how to change up the format of the work. You want that first pass to be in a different format than you wrote the thing in. For me, that means printing it out.

Yes, I know, but I recycle the paper.

When the time comes to start in on edits, you’ll have built up a bit of distance from your work. You’ll be looking at it with fresh eyes, so that you’ll be more likely to read what you’ve actually written rather than what you meant to write.

Good Luck!


The Two Questions Blog tour has wrapped up for the year. Be sure to stop by on Monday where I’ll be posting a recap of all my answers, plus two bonus answers!

You can check out the Events page for the full schedule.

Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.