Monday, December 1, 2014

You Have a First Draft! Um, Now What?

The confession behind this blog: Read here.   

This is what my November looked like, as I think most writers' lives (those with a deadline or who were competing in NaNoWriMo) looked like.

Writing in the kitchen, drinking hot chocolate

Writing in the Starbucks, drinking a skinny hazelnut latte

Writing in the bedroom, drinking up the words

Writing in the dining room, drinking water

Writing in the family room, drinking them in

Writing in the office, at the desk, most likely drinking Diet Dr. Pepper

Writing in the office, on the sofa, definitely drinking Diet Dr. Pepper

All that writing and now you're done. DONE! Now, though, what should you do?

-Put it in a drawer?
-Put it on Amazon?
-Put it in the mail to whoever that was who published JK Rowling?

This one's easy.

I'll give you a minute.

Got the answer?

Okay, here it is…

Put it in a drawer. Everyone.

Enjoy the month that is December. If that means creating matching Christmas sweaters for all the dogs in your family…DO IT.

If that means taking a month-long trip to the Pyramids and dancing naked in the sands that once touched Cleopatra's feet…DO IT.

If that means sleeping for the next month due to NaNoWriMo battle fatigue…DO IT.

Because every minute that manuscript's in the drawer is another minute YOU participate in the world. It means you get inspired by what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. And by getting inspired, you learn how to better raise the stakes and make connections with the characters you've written.

How The Month Away Will Be Awesome for Your Story

You see a woman in a fake fur stole and you think: my hero works in the fur industry, better explaining why he doesn't have an emotional attachment to any animal!

You hear a laugh and you think: what if the heinous laugh of my super villain matches my heroine's mother's laugh!

You taste an atrocious combination of chocolate cake and tomato paste and you think: what if my hero attempts to make my heroine a Valentine's Day meal that breaks them up, it's so horribly bad!

You touch the hand of a 101-year-old Holocaust survivor and you think: this electric feeling at touching history and a person who's lived in that history is exactly the spark my hero should feel when he meets the President!

You smell the pine of the woods during a walk and think: this is what my serial killer is smelling as he hunts his next victim!

So put your manuscript in the drawer. Go live life. Go enjoy life. Remember that you are an observer and participant of life, and those observations and interactions are going to make your stories better. Richer.

And it's okay. You can start another story as you wait.

I have:
Writing on the Mega Bloks box drinking something with caffeine

Sydney Strand is a writer and mom who has published two books through New York and another five via self-publishing. She writes funny little romances, but not of the Red Room of Pain variety. More like the Dan and Roseanne Connor variety--humor is sexy, dontcha know. You can follow Sydney on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and/or you can sign up for her All Things Awesome Newsletter.

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