First draft of Nantucket

This is the first draft of NANTUCKET.

The manuscript weighs in at a hefty 123,336 words.

It’s also missing the last two scenes.

After much deliberation, I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to set the manuscript aside for 6 to 8 weeks; it will age and mature while I’m not looking, and then when I do my readthrough and cut out all the things that need to be cut, I will write the final two scenes.

As it stands, there are a lot of things that will need to be cut. For one thing, my end goal is a nice, trim 85,000 words. Also, I hadn’t wanted to revise as I wrote, so I made changes by writing subsequent scenes as if changes had already been written into the previous scenes. The result was a more enjoyable writing experience for me on the one hand, but on the other hand, because this is a mystery, there’s a lot still to be done during the revision process. I know there are several plot threads that aren’t followed as tightly as they should have been. Some of these threads might need to be dropped, as well.

And so I realized that my resistance to writing the final two scenes wasn’t some sort of psychological self-sabotage, but really just practical sense.

I didn’t want to sit down to write scenes that I knew would most likely have to undergo substantial changes. While I know the important things about the final two scenes – who the murderer is, how the murderer is caught, what happens to my main character as a result – there are a lot of things that I won’t be sure about until I’ve had a chance to read everything I’ve written up to that point, and cut what needs to be cut.

So I can safely say, this is definitely the first draft of NANTUCKET.

Yes, I’m finished!

53 thoughts on “This Is NANTUCKET

    1. Belle

      Thanks, Amanda. It was actually a comment you’d left earlier here that helped me decide – you’d mentioned that you weren’t able to finish one of your projects until you’d left it alone for a while, then when you came back to it, the rest of it just flowed. I realized that was exactly what was happening with me – it made so much sense!

      I overwrite, so I don’t think I’ll have trouble cutting huge portions of the manuscript. There were also places where I wrote two or three versions of the same scene (hence the very large word count)!

  1. rhapsodyinbooks

    It’s beautiful!!! But I don’t see page numbers. Already I’m worried someone will knock it off the table and it will be all out of order! :–)

    I think “aging it” is a great idea. At least it works well for wine and cheese, so why not for manuscripts?

    So heartiest congratulations on The Official First Draft!!!!!!!
    .-= rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog ..October 7, 1885 – Birthday of Niels Bohr =-.

    1. Belle

      Thanks, Jill! And not to worry. I put it on the table to take a picture and then immediately tucked it away in a corner shelf where it can age properly (and probably gather just a tiny bit of dust – I figure that probably won’t hurt either).

  2. Margot Kinberg

    I am so happy for you that your manuscript is done!! I really do wish you well trimming it down and getting it ready to send out. How exicting! For what it’s worth, I do the same thing (leave it and then come back to it). I also have two people read it – people I trust absolutely who will tell me the truth about the book. Then I revise, etc…

    1. Belle

      I will definitely be lining up first readers for this book once I finish the first set of revisions, Margot. I suspect this one will require quite a few rounds of revisions …

  3. Robyn Campbell

    WOOHOO! YAY! WOOHOO! Isn’t it a FANTASTIC feeling? Man that is some kind of a lot of pages. And don’t forget to check for filler words. They can drastically cut your word count if you’re like me.

    I’m so happy for you, Belle. Good luck on cutting. And fixing those scenes. Hey–you just wrote a novel, my friend. CELEBRATE. :) And while you’re waiting on it to cure, check the agentquery and querytracker. It’s NEVER to early to start making a list of potential agents.

    How are you doing on the fitness challenge? I’m trying to catch up. Almost there. I got a late start. Four days late. I am going to put the logo on the blog sometime tonight. :)
    .-= Robyn Campbell´s last blog ..UGH to scenes that "drag" =-.

    1. Belle

      I just discovered Agent Query the other day, Robyn! Do you use the forums? It looks great, and I’m thinking I might join up after I finish NaNoWriMo. I haven’t heard of querytracker, so I’ll definitely check that out, too.

      I am now doing 1.5 miles every other day. I like the every other day part. One problem I’ve discovered, though, is that on the days I run, I find myself craving chocolate.

  4. Memory

    Horray! I was so pleased when I saw that big stack of pages in my feed reader; you know I’ve been waiting for this post for ages and ages! Congrats on finishing, and good luck with WAVERLEY!

    (…and that was an awful lot of exclamation points, but they’re all well-deserved. Good for you!)
    .-= Memory´s last blog ..The Third Quarter =-.

  5. Viva

    Congratulations! A completed first draft: what a beautiful sight to behold. Are you beginning a new project while Nantucket “marinates” (as my critiquing partner calls it)?
    .-= Viva´s last blog ..Fear of Success =-.

    1. Belle

      I’m really eager to plunge into the worldbuilding and character sketches for my NaNoWriMo project, Viva. That’s my plan for October, anyway! Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year?

      1. Viva

        Looking forward to NaNoWriMo! I’ve been stuck in obsessive research mode for two months. I need NaNoWriMo to get me off the research/outline treadmill and into my next project.
        .-= Viva´s last blog ..Publish and Perish =-.

  6. Barbara

    I’ll bet that once you start editing the last two scenes will just flow right out. I’m so glad you’ve got that first draft done. To me, the first draft is the hardest part; I actually like editing. Wonderful news!
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..What I’ve Been Reading =-.

    1. Belle

      I felt a little iffy about titling this post “I Am Finished!” because of those last two scenes :) But it does feel to me like the first draft is officially done! Definitely exciting – thanks for following along on this particular writing journey of mine, by the way!

  7. Belle

    Thank you so much everyone! I know so many of you have been in on the writing of NANTUCKET ever since I plunged back into it earlier this year. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your words of support, and the fact that you’re all celebrating with me!

    I love all the exclamation marks!!

  8. Robyn Campbell

    Belle, the forums really help you to learn the process. And hey when you visit querytracker you can buy Elana’s book. I haven’t gotten it yet, but I plan on it. It’s downloadable and chock full of info on querying. I know some who have bought it and they say it is worth its weight in gold to a writer. Check it out. I plan on getting it. I just haven’t had the time.

    I have been fixing my pitch. I have 5 minutes with an agent on Thursday. So I’ve been answering questions she might ask and trying to make my pitch SHINE.

    I’m just about caught up on the fitness challenge. YOU GO GIRL. But don’t it feel good when you’re done for the day? AUGH! It feel good! :)
    .-= Robyn Campbell´s last blog ..Books For Reluctant Readers =-.

    1. Belle

      I have Jeff Herman’s agent guide, the 2009 edition. I bought it earlier this year and honestly, I didn’t really think I’d be in a position to use it soon, but it just might come in handy! Have you heard about it? I’ll have to check out the querytracker book.

      Bouncing into a new forum is always hard for me in the beginning – it always feels like stepping into a party in progress where I don’t know anyone. I keep looking around for the food table so I can at least stand around and nibble, but those are hard to find in forums!

      Good luck with your pitch! It sounds like it’s a verbal pitch – are you going to be at a conference?

      And it’s great that you’re almost caught up on the fitness challenge! Yes, it feels so good when I’m done for the day. Now I just have to stay away from the chocolate …

  9. Robyn Campbell

    Yes, I have an older version of Jeff Herman’s guide. But do check out Elana’s book. I hear it is invaluable. I plan on getting it after I do my pitch. :)

    My pitch is online. With Caryn Wiseman of Andrea Brown. I’m soooo excited. I got this because I do the Muse Online Conference every year. This is the first year for pitches. Mine was good enough to get in for a pitch session.

    Oh the chocolate! Peanut m&m’s. And hershey and Dove and…oops! I’m trying to loose the 15 pounds I gained while completing my novel. Plus, I’m a type 1 diabetic so this exercise has got to help bring my blood sugar down.

    Thanks for the good luck wish. Thursday is coming. YIKES! :)
    .-= Robyn Campbell´s last blog ..Books For Reluctant Readers =-.


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