Just a couple of weeks ago I declared the zero draft of my second book done. The zero draft is what a first draft looks like before it takes its vitamins and eats its Wheaties. It’s schlumpy, dumpy, and very, very lumpy. But there’s a complete story in place even if there are still scenes missing, plot holes/continuity issues to be fixed, and places that need a bit more fleshing out.
I used to scoff at the idea of a zero draft. If there’s still all that work to be done, why call it a draft at all? Why not just wait until you have a more complete draft to call it anything but a work in progress?
Instead of continuing to pooh-pooh the idea, I decided that for this book I would try out this zero draft concept. I mean, hey, it’s not like I have to actually do anything special to make it a zero draft. If I don’t think the idea has merit, I can always just discard it. No harm, no foul.
So, when I finally had a story that had a recognizable beginning, middle, and end I declared it a zero draft. And you know what? It’s a great idea!
I declared my zero draft done and something in me went SQUEE! Now, my brain knows how much work still needs to be done – I haven’t even hit the halfway point with my word count – but just publicly noting this milestone gave my psyche a buzz. It rejuvenated my Muse and gave me that extra oomph.
My next milestone is reaching 50,000 words (I’m only 2,500 words away!) and already I can feel my heart rate speeding up and the excitement building. Then it’s onward to 75,000 and finally the grand finale – First Draft. Of course, that’s just the start of the work to be done. After that comes revisions, revisions, and more revisions.
How do you mark the milestones of your writing?