by President Ursula Renée
After two months pounding away at the keyboard until my arms were sore, I typed the last sentence of my historical novel. Though there are things that can be more exciting, i.e., signing a contract or seeing the book in print on release day, there is still a euphoria that comes from getting a plot out of the mind and onto paper. Therefore, I danced around and relished the joy that comes from completing a novel.
I know without reviewing my latest novel that the first draft is crappy. There are typos, grammatical errors, and problems with the plot. I will need to add more descriptions in some places and trim dialogue in others. I will also have to add another scene or two to make the plot more realistic and flow better. Finally, I will have to verify facts that, if not correct, would pull a reader out the story. People may wonder how I can be excited when there is still so much work to be done before the manuscript can be submitted to an editor.
For me, writing the first draft is the hardest. For every completed novel, I have two unfinished projects. It is easy for me to begin a novel. However, halfway through I may not be able to continue because I’m no longer excited about the characters or I do not know what direction to take the story. Or, another idea that seems more exciting may pop into my mind.
I jumped into my current novel determined to get the foundation of the story down on paper. As I worked, I forced myself to move forward and not look back. Even when the scenes felt sluggish or the dialogue was not riveting, I reminded myself that I will always need to edit a story before I submit it, and that process cannot be done if I do not finish.
I encourage authors having problems completing a work-in-progress to sit down with their favorite writing medium (whether it is a computer, voice recorder, or pen and paper) and simply write. Do not worry about errors or how the sentences flow. You can always go back and change things later. As the saying goes, you cannot edit a blank page.♥
Thanks to the support and encouragement of the members of RWA/NYC, Ursula Renée signed her first publishing contract in 2013 for her historical romance, SWEET JAZZ. As President of RWA/NYC, Ursula wants to offer the same encouragement and guidance to other RWA members. Visit her at www.ursularenee.com.