|Finishing one of these bangles only means|
there are more waiting to be made
Me, I'm a bit different.
I'm about a day or two away from completing Draft One of the first of several MG Steampunkish stories. My Draft Zero has been printed out and those pages have been marked up with my trusty red pen and I'm in the process of keying in those changes.
So how do I feel? Elated? Nah. Filled with energy? Nope. One step closer to being done? Yes--but with qualifications.
As I've mentioned before, my wonderful wife is a jeweler. She makes beautiful gold and silver jewelry using precious and semi-precious gemstones. Shortly after we were married she convinced me to try wire-wrapping. I did and eventually started making bangles like the one you see above.
My wife and I had very different approaches to completing a piece. To my wife, each piece was an individual work of art, and as such, was never completed. Her favorite line about this is, "An artist never finishes a piece, they merely surrender it." To me, the bangles were not individual artworks, they were something I made in a one-mass assembly line process. Completing one bangle simply meant there were more bangles to make.
(Yes, they're pretty. Yes, they were reasonably priced. Yes, we sold a lot of them. Yes, I'm appreciative of every bangle I made and sold. And, yes, I'm very glad I haven't had to make any of them this year) (knocks wood)
My response to finishing my Draft One of the Steampunkish story isn't quite as bleak as my reaction to finishing a(nother) bangle. I do see the story as something much closer to a work of art than something cranked out on the assembly line. However, it is still something I'm referring to as a Draft, not as a finished manuscript. There's the problem I have with the first five to ten pages, there are my questions about the end, there's a serious uncertainty about the two chapters that lead up to the climax...
In other words, it's one step closer, but I recognize that it's just that: a step.
I'll send it off to my beta readers early this week. As responses start trickling in, I'll send out my list of follow-up questions. When those come back, I'll review each of them, make some decisions and do some further editing. Then it goes back out to a few of the beta readers for their take on the changes.
One step in an entire march of steps towards getting to a point where I can "merely surrender it" with a reasonably clear conscious.
How do you respond to completing a First Draft? Any sense of elation? Pride? Do you have any celebrations? I'm curious to know what you do.