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 For the past year I’ve been struggling with people in my head, the way most writers do. After days, weeks, months of sometimes agonized, other times torturous, some joyful and mostly not very easy writing, the first draft of my first ever novel is done. I don’t know where its destiny lies, but I know I have to try and make it the best I can. 

The
characters in my novel have lived with me so long, I miss them. But
they’ll have to stay away for a while, so I gain the objectivity I need,
get ahold of a pair of shears and start cutting and shaping. They have
had their own way in the first draft, changed their own story (the draft
has deviated from the outline in every chapter), but the characters now
have to be made consistent, their voices sharpened. I might have to figure out what gaping plot holes I’ve left behind, where the pace lags, and a thousand other things I don’t know about yet.

Who knows how long all that will take. For now, I’m content not doing much. I’m reading, gearing up for the A to Z Challenge (Have you signed up yet?), planning my upcoming travels and classes. I guess I need this breather before the next plunge.
What about you? If you are a writer, where are you in your WIP? If you’re a reader, what book are you reading?
Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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46 Comments

  • arollinson says:

    I have been slowly mapping out the basis for a novel, and I must say that your quality writing style and perseverance in writing your novel is both inspiring and daunting to me. Best of luck with all of your work!

  • Ice Girl says:

    Congratulations on completing your first draft!

  • Mark Murata says:

    In my current mashup of The War of the Worlds, I have to write the climactic battle scene, then the chase to prevent the thing-that-comes-after-the-climax from occurring.

  • Sarah Allen says:

    I'm not too far past this point myself. I finished my first novel last year. Now I'm working on querying it to agents and I recently started novel number two. We'll see how everything turns out!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah With Joy)

    • Damyanti says:

      I think it might take me at least a year to edit mine. I wish you all the best with yours, and hope you snag an agent soon!

  • It's comforting to see that a writer-blogger I admire has had similar ebbs and flows of creativity. My coauthor and I recently got out of a stagnant spot and are back into writing the third book of our series.

  • Hart Johnson says:

    Oh, congratulations for finishing! That's huge! And you are wise for setting it aside for a while. I think AT LEAST a month (three if you have it, maybe longer) helps. I strongly recommend critiquing the work of a buddy in the mean time. I think it helps you put on your editor's hat so you can face your own work more objectively (and after a palate cleanse)

    • Damyanti says:

      Hart, thanks you for the good advice. I'm planning to do some beta-reading for folks in the meanwhile. After a month I'll rewrite only the chapters that need POV change, which will be like writing almost a first draft. Then we'll see. 🙂

  • I'm getting ready for the A – Z Challenge these days. Come May, I'll likely be buried in a book I can't put down:)

    • Damyanti says:

      MJ, so am I — it is so much of getting ready, I'm a little tired already. I'm not the most efficient of cohosts!

  • The characters do stick with you. I tried to write from the perspective of a killer and gave myself nightmares. I don't have the gumption to write mystery or horror!

    • Damyanti says:

      I had nightmares throughout my novel — it is literary crime and not a horror, but it still made me go all pukey and headachey in parts. Not sure if that is a good thing. My betas will tell me, I guess.

  • The Kingkiller Chronicle is a very interesting trilogy. It took the author 7 years for him to be able to finish the 1st book. I'm obviously not really good with words. What I'm trying to say is… no matter how long it takes, as long as it's worth waiting (and i'm very sure it is), we'll be patiently waiting with you 🙂

    By the way, CONGRATS!

  • Congratulations – your first draft of your first novel is a huge moment! I'm struggling with my first draft, so I'm rewriting some short stories and looking for competitions to enter them into – it keeps my fingers active, if nothing else 🙂

    • Damyanti says:

      Annalisa, don't struggle with the draft, let it come to you. Meanwhile, what you're doing with the short stories is awesome!

  • Donna Hole says:

    I have several WiP. My first trilogy is still a WiP, although I am shopping out the first novel. Still, revision has takes a couple years, and I'm not sure I'll ever be "finished" with the novel, and the characters, until it is all published.

    Congrats on finishing the first draft though. It is an amazing feeling. Just knowing you have reached the end of one stage of writing is exhilarating – for me anyways.

    I'm not doing A-Z. The blog hopping is too much work for me. I'm taking mostly a blogging break – meaning I have a couple posts planned, but nothing I'd be upset over if all the bloggers are only commenting on A-Z links. My April posts are just to keep my blog from stagnating for a month 🙂 I think it is awesome so many are participating in this event. Kudos to Arlee Bird for the concept.

    …….dhole

    • Damyanti says:

      Donna, it was an amazing feeling, but just before I finished. After I finished, I collapsed in exhaustion, and maybe a little depression.

      AZ is tiring, for sure. Will be visiting you during the April to say howd, and check out your posts.

  • Jo says:

    I'm another blogger and reader of blogs, I certainly find it difficult to keep up with all the blogs. Especially with A to Z coming up soon.

  • klahanie says:

    Hi Damyanti,

    I think it's a good idea to reflect a bit on your writing. Get refreshed and thus not put too much pressure on yourself.

    And what with blogging, trying to write a blog, commenting back on my blog and visiting blogs, it leaves little time for writing. I can relate to what you noted in a comment.

    And I think you know, me being the "Official anti-A to Z spokesman", that there is no way I would ever get involved in it. Of course, ironically, my alternative postings actually promote a challenge I wont involve myself with. How weird, eh.

    Happy writing,

    Gary, I know, who is this Gary?

    • Damyanti says:

      Gary, I know, who you are, and as I said to you on twitter, thank you for being you.

      I'm blogging quite a bit these days cos I have travels ahead of me, but it is good not to have the pressure to produce words. The pressure will build up within, I'm hoping, and I'll start playing with words again in April.

  • Mina Lobo says:

    Congrats on this first stage of completion! I'm a lot in love with my characters too, so when I'm not actively writing/editing them, I tend to revisit them.

    Writer Me has been at her edits, while Reader Me has some catching up to do. It's a busy life but maybe that's what we need to make us feel alive…

  • It's good to take a step back for a little while before diving back in.

    I'm still drafting one…on the second draft.

  • LONDONLULU says:

    Best wishes as you continue on this journey with your characters! My main form of writing consists of only research publications:) and it seems nowhere as difficult as fiction-writing. Off to check out A to Z!

    • Damyanti says:

      Research publications are hard to write too– I know this from some of my professor friends. Thanks for checking out AZ, and I hope you join!

  • L.G. Smith says:

    I wish I were finished with this current WIP. It's taking twice as long to finish as I thought it was going to. And the revision stage is tough if you've got to rein in a lot of story, but it's where you really get to make the novel shine. It will be good to take a break from it, do the A to Z, read, and then go back to it with fresh eyes. Things will stand out so much clearer to you after some time away. Good luck. 🙂

    • Damyanti says:

      I found late in the day what POVs I needed to write from, so I have 6 chapters of those to do. And then, of course, the rewrites!

  • Cheree Smith says:

    Congrats with finishing the first draft. I'm in the middle of rewriting my second draft.

  • Summer Ross says:

    Congrats on completion!!!! Huge deal. Good for you taking a break then going back to it.

    I am working on final revisions for mine and a query letter (which I have decided is the bane of my writerly existence)

    I am also reading- 'Ever After' by Kim Harrison.
    Have a terrific Monday!

  • Rena says:

    Congrats! First novel is such a big step! I've been revising my WIP. I'm waiting to hear back from some betas, then it's revise again and start collecting the rejection letters.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Rena. It felt like a big step, but with the revisions ahead, it seems like a small hurdle crossed with mountains on the horizon! Good luck with your book!

  • Lynn Proctor says:

    yay–i am sure it feels great!!

    • Damyanti says:

      Blogging is more exhausting than writing these days, especially since I'm trying to get nearly 80 posts done in 15 days 🙂

  • shelly says:

    Hugs and chocolate to you!

    Shelly

  • I'm a blogger and reader of blogs. I have a WIP but its more of a childhood diary than anything else. I'll probably print it for my kids and thats where it will stay.

  • Congratulations on finishing that first draft. I'm mulling over an idea, but still not sure if I'll write it or not.

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