General Writing TIps

Holy Crap! I Wrote a Book.

Let me just take a second to freak out! Holy crap!! I wrote a book! At 74,000 words, I finished my first draft of Spark. I can’t believe I made it this far. It is insane. I can’t even begin to explain the emotions I feel. It’s a whirlwind of excitement and terror. Now it’s real.

I have a million questions bouncing around my brain but, one sticks out more than the others. What if once all my revisions and editing is done… it sucks? That’s a hard hurdle to get over. At this point, I have shown very few people any of my work, and it was only a scene or two. I know every writer goes through these stages but this is my first time and it’s scary.

What am I doing to get over this? Well, I don’t know if it something you can “get over.” However, it’s something that I will use to drive me to make my story the best it can be. I don’t want my work to suck, so I’m going to do everything to the best of my ability to make sure it doesn’t. Then when I feel confident I’ve done everything I possibly can, I’ll get help from my beta readers and then editors. When it’s finally released, I will probably still have that same concern. I don’t think it will ever go away.

However, today I want to talk more about what I learned in this whole process. Here are the top five things that I learned while writing my first draft.

1.) I am an underwriter. That means I will be spending a lot of my revision time expanding on scenes and adding more detail. I’ve read that the first draft is for your eyes only and I think I took that to heart because it is awful. I rushed through to get it down on paper, and now I’ve got a hot mess to deal with but, you have to start somewhere.

2.) I HATE character descriptions. Some of them are “blue eyes and blonde hair.” (Because I’ll come back to that later) Not even a joke. I wish it were a joke. I dread them… but when I sit down and figure it out, I think they come out pretty good. So here’s to hoping I don’t drink myself into an alcoholic when I start fixing those.

3.) I love dialogue. It is so fun for me to write! I get into a flow, and I could go all day. I think it is the strongest part of my writing.

4.) I use contractions way less then I should when I write. It’s a weird thing… It’s not all the time, but I noticed it when I was writing dialogue that I tend to spell them out (cannot/do not and the like) and that’s so far from natural. It’s just a weird thing I picked up on when reading over some of my old scenes.

5.) I come up with the best ideas when I am writing or in my car. While I’m writing, I’m able to be submerged in their world, and I can feel and see my characters. I think that’s why I could never be a complete “plotter.”

In the car, I just talk to myself… or them… (looks to the side to make sure no one is watching.) Either way, it’s where I get the most creative, and it works for me.

I’m so excited to be able to share this with you. I would love to hear what you have learned about yourself through writing.

As always don’t forget to follow my page on the way out to keep up on the progress of my novel and any writing tips I find along the way. If you have a topic, you would like me to cover on a future blog feel free to drop a comment below, message me on the comment page or tweet me @shauna_philp.

5 thoughts on “Holy Crap! I Wrote a Book.

  1. First and most importantly, congratulations! That is the big bit completed.

    I started this blog as a direct reaction to having finished my book (it took me a long time. In about five years I wrote 20% and then ended up writing the remaining 80% in seven months). Mine is about four times the length of yours and has been re-edited twice. Still hasn’t been seen by publishers as there’s a terminology issue needs brushing up. Hopefully soon that will be rectified.

    Anyway, you should be proud of reaching this stage. Don’t get too bogged down in editing. It can become an obsession. I went through it and added contractions everywhere to bring the word count down. Honestly, my latest edit was 25,000 words shorter than the first. I really struggled with character descriptions, but ultimately decided not to get too intense with little details and allowed the story to naturally describe them. What you need to do is just read the story back first. Don’t plunge straight into editing. Make notes, sure, but don’t edit every little thing you see until after reading it through.

    The excitement you feel now is something you need to ride because if you don’t then you’ll start to procrastinate in the same way I have. I will get to approaching publishers, but I’m so obsessed with sorting the terminology problem that I know I won’t do so until it is actually sorted.

    I hope it all works out for you. I look forward to seeing further developments 🙂

    1. Thank you, Paul. It took me about a year with a few month break in the middle to get Spark down on paper. I’m glad you mentioned reading it over first. I was tossing that up in the air because there is a plotline I want to strengthen to become more of the main plotline and I was trying to decide if I should read it over or go straight to outlining first. It makes more sense to do that. I haven’t looked over the beginning since I started it last year. So, I mean there could be things I’ve completely forgotten about. I’m also glad I’m not the only one that struggles with character descriptions! 🙂 Have a wonderful day Paul! I’ll make it a point to check out your work soon!

      1. Always happy to share my findings with others. I’ve done an awful lot of reading on on the do’s and do not’s once you’ve completed a novel. I’ve written a lot on my blog about the story I want to publish, The Escapades of William Hart: Revenge on the Spanish Main. Glean what you would like from my process. Maybe eventually we could even compare notes and aid one another in our respective quests to become published authors 🙂

  2. I could definitely see how character development could be a daunting task! You will get through it though!


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