Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
I reached a pretty big milestone in my writing journey a couple weeks ago. I finished the first draft of my first novel. The feeling of accomplishment in that moment is something I very rarely get to experience. The struggle to reach this point has taken over a year, I’ve literally cried over this thing, mostly when my son dropped our laptop on the floor and the hard drive got wrecked, losing half the work I’d done. That’s when I discovered the magic of The Cloud (ohhh ahhhh).
The hilarious thing about finishing my first draft was I didn’t realize I was that close until I was half a chapter away. I had this whole outline with how the rest of the story should go, and when I looked at it one day thought to myself “Why the hell do you have this all broken up into separate scenes? There is a much simpler way to do this!” So I scrapped the outline and just started writing with my end game in mind. At some point I stopped and realized I could wrap this puppy up in 2000 words or less. So I did. It helped that I’ve had the last chapter and epilogue written for months now.
In celebration of writing ‘The End’ I went back to a very very very old email to a friend when I started writing this sucker. I sent her one of the first drafts of the first couple chapters, and to say they were rough is an understatement of epic proportions. But being the amazing, supportive friend she is, she said she loved it. I don’t think I would have gotten through that first draft without her encouragement and just general awesome-tude.
In honor of her, and my progress, I thought it would be fun to just post the first paragraph of the first chapter as it was when I sent it to her, and how that chunk looks now after several revisions. So in honor of the best friend a gal could have (looking at you LP!) Here is a snippet of The Arrangement.
Michelle wasn’t sure how much longer she could sit here silently. She watched as Jeremy used his long skilled fingers to type the last of his emails before he turned his attention to her. She could imagine what those fingers would do to her, she imagined it almost daily. Ok multiple times a day. It wasn’t easy working so closely with such a classically gorgeous man and never acting on her obvious attraction. But she had to resist. They worked in a small PR office and he was technically her superior. Ok, actually her superior, he was the owner of the firm. Any romantic entanglement would surely spell disaster. But watching those fingers glide over the keyboard as the muscles in his forearms twitched slightly, it became too much. Michelle walked around and leaned her not insignificant ass on the edge of his desk, maybe half a foot from his arm. She saw a momentary hesitation in his key strokes and knew he noticed her proximity. They had been shooting coy glances at each other for months, even throwing out the occasional thinly veiled sexual innuendo when no one was listening. Her heart pounded as she slowly took one finger and starting at the rolled up cuff of his oxford shirt traced his arm down to those impossibly long fingers. How can someone be attracted to something as simple as fingers? Jeremy froze. Keeping his face pointed at the screen his eyes slid to her legs, he lingered there before looking at her face. “Michelle what are you doing?”
Don’t you love the huge block of text? Choppy writing? Oh yeah! But still, I read that and remember the way the words just poured out of me those first few weeks. It wasn’t that easy later when my characters stopped talking to me, or I got discouraged after losing half my work.
Now here is where it stands today. Undoubtedly there will be more revisions, tweaks here and there. But I’m really happy with where things stand write now. This excerpt is approximately the same number of words as above:
Michelle squirmed in her seat, trying to calm the pulsing at the juncture of her thighs. She wasn’t sure how long she could sit there, in silence.
Jeremiah used his long, skilled fingers to type an email to one of their clients. On a daily basis she imagined them sliding over her skin, gripping her ass. Okay, multiple times a day.
His angular features and moss green eyes were tense with concentration. She noticed his jaw twitch as he clenched his teeth together. The need to help him relax was almost overwhelming. She wished she could run her fingers through his short dirty blonde hair, massaging his scalp.
She weaved one section of her long auburn hair between her fingers, admiring him from across the desk.
It wasn’t easy working side-by-side with such a gorgeous man, never acting on her obvious attraction. They worked in a PR firm based on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Technically, he was her superior. Okay, not technically. He owned Zenith Marketing and Public Relations. Any romantic entanglement between them would spell disaster.
To relieve the pressure that continued to build between her long legs, she uncrossed them, shifted and recrossed them on the other side. It didn’t help.
His hands floated over the keyboard, well defined muscles in his forearms jumped with every keystroke.
It became too much to resist. Michelle stood, smoothing her skirt over her curves as she walked around the sleek desk, and leaned her round ass on the edge next to his arm.
A momentary hesitation in his typing was her only indication he noticed her close proximity.
Her heart pounded in her ears. She was taking a huge risk.
Certainly not perfect by any means. But progress. And really, that’s all I can ask for. Who knows if this thing will ever be published, and if it is published if anyone other then my friends and family will buy a copy. But that really doesn’t matter to me. I wrote a book. It’s in rough shape right now and I have a crap-ton of edits to do, but I did it! I took 80,000 words out of my head, and put them on paper. How freaking cool is that?!
By the way, this post is a direct result of my new efforts to be more positive about myself, something I talk about in my post for the Happy Authors Guild blog, check it out here!