Road by Marcin Milewski

A (finally) completed draft

This weekend, I finally kicked myself into gear and wrote the last missing scene in my work-in-progress — a very necessary somewhat-climactic scene that I was avoiding. I have no good excuses for the avoidance, honestly. Just that I knew it was an important scene, that it was necessary, and that it needed to be written. I’d already written the concluding chapter, which comes after this scene, but this one took months to write. I don’t know what clicked or changed, but Sunday morning I sat on my bed, still in my pajamas, and knocked out the 2,000 word scene.

But I still have a long road ahead of me.

Even though the draft wasn’t complete, I’ve already gone through and done massive editing on the entire novel. A lot changed. A lot still needs to be changed. Yes, I have an ending (have had the ending for a while; this one came easily whereas others in the past have been more difficult to discover), and I’ve finally written this missing scene, but that doesn’t mean everything fits together. It’s complete, yes, but it’s not finished.

So what’s next?

I’ve worked up through chapter 12 with my amazing writing group. (There are, at the moment, 17 total chapters.) On my next turn, we’ll get through 13 and 14. Closer and closer to a full workshop of the novel with my group. I have over a dozen pages of thoughts, edits, suggestions, discussion, and more from the first 12 chapters with the group. Some of it will be simple to incorporate. Some of it I already have incorporated — adding an earlier scene between my protag, Hannah, and her BFF, Mel, for instance. Some of it will take some juggling and some time.

I know I already want to re-work this new scene. It’s coming across as pretty sentimental right now. It can’t do that. It needs to be solid. And I know that there’s at least one conversation that needs to be revised. I need to flesh it out and go deeper. There are a few other scenes that need to be expanded, some re-arranging to do, and some inconsistencies that need to be made consistent.

Really, there’s still a lot left to do before the complete draft turns into a finished one.

Which brings me to this —

WIP Summer To Do List

1. Edit chapters 13-17 before sending sections to my writing group.
2. Go through writing group edits and incorporate as needed.
3. Map out entire novel in story board format on U.S. map and with Post-Its.
4. Edit entire novel, page one to end, by hand for inconsistencies, typos, spelling, sentences, etc. etc.
5. Write query letter.

That’s not too intimidating of a to do list, even if the novel is 78K words, which means that’s an awful lot to edit. But it’s doable in just under two months. I’ll feel really good about this novel and about my writing if I can shoot for September 1 as the day to start querying!

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