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The problem, you see, was that I wasn’t really excited about it. At all.
I’d noticed pretty early on that the first draft excitement that usually lasts me a pretty decent way into the first draft writing process, dissipated unusually fast. I liked the characters, but the more I wrote, the less confident I was about the manuscript. And it had nothing to do with the writing—I don’t expect much, writing-wise, from first drafts—but I was very quickly losing the desire to continue.
I finished it anyway. And I like the manuscript. But considering all the revision necessary to bring a manuscript from first to finished draft, I need to more than like it–I need to love it. Or at least, I need to love something about it, whether it’s the idea, or the potential behind the idea, or the characters or…something.
As of right now, unfortunately, I don’t. So this is going to most likely be an insta-trunk for me.
However! That doesn’t mean I’ll never go back to it. And it doesn’t mean it won’t ever get revised. And it also doesn’t mean it was a waste of time.
Practice novels, to me, are important. I’ve learned from the past, that especially after I’ve taken a first-draft writing hiatus (and considering the last first draft I finished before this one was last year’s NaNo novel, I’d done just that), I sometimes need to pound out a manuscript just to remind myself that I can. Just to prove that I haven’t forgotten how to first draft or I haven’t lost the ability to write something new.
Sometimes I need space to play around with new ideas or genres or whatever the case may be. And sometimes I need to write something that I don’t like as much as I’d hoped before I can dive in to something I adore.
That’s the value of practice novels—not in the manuscript itself that you inevitably put away, but in what you learn from writing it. And sometimes it takes me a little while to figure out what, exactly, I got from writing it, but it does, inevitably, click into place eventually.
In the meantime, I’m happy to be done with it so I can move onto something else. Something, I hope, that I’ll be excited about from start to finish.
Have you ever written a practice novel? What was your experience like?
Writer @Ava_Jae talks about the importance of writing practice novels. What do you think? (Click to tweet)
Writers! Have you ever written a practice novel? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)