I finished my very first completed draft (what I call the plot draft) in April 2012. I was at roughly 120,000 words. I had completed from point A to point B. I could give the story to somebody and have them read it and they would be able to connect the dots. I wasn’t ready to give it to people yet, but if I did, they could at least understand what was going on. It still sucked, but that was okay, it was the first step.
I finished the rough draft (what I call the first manuscript draft) in October 2012. I had narrowed it down to roughly 115,000 words or so. Much more coherent. Worked on point-of-view, tying together loose ends, and making sure the story flowed. This is the copy I gave to my wife, my best friend (who has a writing eye) and a wonderful writing friend (who is published) who took the time because she basically rocks. I told them to unload on me and to hold nothing back. They did.
I finished the next rough draft (what I call the beta-reader draft) in November 2012. I was able to get it to right around 105,000 or so for the beta-readers. I had three wonderful beta-readers who gave me information and feedback I could have never dreamed of, scenarios and character ideas that never crossed my mind. Just the ideas themselves got me excited for the changes it would bring to the book.
And that’s my whole point. As a writer, I started out at point A. I had an idea, a story I wanted to tell. Point B is that story. It takes a lot of hard work, effort, time, change, experience, and humility to get to point B. But in the end, it’s all about point B – making the story the best possible story it can be.
My goal was to be at “point B” with 90,000 words about the first of January. Oh, well. But I am not giving up. Currently I am at about 95,000 words and I am moving forward. It might take another week, two weeks, or another month, but the story is moving forward and it is getting better. Soon, it will be done.
If you have a story you are currently working on, just keep moving forward, step by step, word by word (whether you are putting them in or taking them out) and it will happen. It’s an exciting, frustrating, overwhelming, fulfilling process.