This week I finished the First Draft of my science fiction novel, The Renegades: Redemption (working title that will probably become the actual one unless I can finally dream up something better.)
That's 'finished' as in 'actually got to the bit where I get to type 'THE END' when the final chapter's been written.' This is the first time in my life that this has happened to me!
Sure, in the past I've written the lyrics for two musicals (both of which were performed in the USA) and had a couple of short stories and parts of collaborative short stories published - but when it comes to novels... well I've got enough halfway-through and only-just-started ones to stock a library (admittedly a very rubbish library, seeing as none of the books would be finished.) Until now. Now I've actually FINISHED a novel!
Well okay - I've actually finished a first draft, which isn't quite the same thing, as I'm sure all the proper novelists out there will tell me. But for me, this is still A Big Thing. For one thing, it means I'm not the big old, lazy, procrastinatin' lightweight I thought I was (well, okay then - I'm a little less like it than I used to be.) And second - now it means I actually have to find out if I've got what it takes to reach the next stage - completing Draft Two.
In six weeks time I will need to unearth my Draft One copy and rip it to pieces with my distance-critical eye. I might discover it's so awful that actually taking it to Draft Two stage could be considered a crime against literature, and while that will probably hurt at least I will have discovered it early rather than late in the journey. I'm hoping that won't be the case, of course - I invested a lot of time and effort in it, after all. I even made an Excel spreadsheet to track my hours spent writing it, for crying out loud. (I know - dead nerdy, but it seemed to work for making me write each day. I suppose seeing those little numbers adding up in my Total Hours columns guilted me into keeping at it.)
And then, if said Draft One proves to actually NOT suck, I will be able to dive headlong into the process of creating Draft Two. And heck, I might even finish THAT too. Providing an asteroid doesn't hit the planet and vaporise us all of course, or some other natural disaster of a world-ending nature. (That would be just typical of my luck, that would; finally get my posterior in gear with my writing and then get wiped out in a global crisis of bad B-movie proportions.)
But no! I must think positive, happy thoughts. Today is the first day of the rest of my life as a novelist. Not necessarily a successful one - but a novelist all the same. This calls for a celebration!
I may well eat a colossal amount of chocolate tonight...