Okay, so I finished my manuscript – first draft anyway – last week. Yay me! There is something so wonderful about typing those last words and realizing that you have a completed story in front of you. But for me, that incredible high is often followed by a bit of sadness as well. I mean, basically you just nurtured and watched your bird grow, only to push it out of the nest. Now what? No more late night plot planning, no more scenes popping into your head at the most inopportune times. And the characters – it is like losing friends who to move away.
So how do I handle the withdrawal you might ask? Very slowly – keep in mind, I have only finished the first draft, so now it is tweak time. I may not get to spend every waking moment with my story, but I can try to read it with an objective eye. So I put the story away for a period of time (no peeking) and then pull it out and read the ENTIRE thing from cover to cover. Then I start fixing those gaps in plot or dialogue that I didn’t notice when I was obsessed with it. For me editing is much harder than drafting those initial pages. Now, I have to face the fact that what seemed brilliant at the time may need to be fixed. But I am a perfectionist, so I move forward with my story, knowing that another is already lurking in the shadows to fill its place!