Do you remember “The Plan”? Where I said I had a plan for getting the first draft of my short story finished and laid out my ‘plan’ in a blog post. Well, it worked … sort of …

A week and a half ago I wrote The Plan, a blog post outlining a relatively unambitious plan (you see what I did there? oh, right, move on …) to complete the first draft of a short story I began almost two years ago. I’d stumbled and flailed, and been stumped, and failed occasionally, to get this one done. I had four major scenes to write and an estimate of about 5,000 words to add to the story. I vowed to get this done on the four evenings from Monday to Thursday.

Well, I didn’t get it done by Thursday. I had one evening where, for reasons, I didn’t get much done. I had one instance where two of my main characters decided to do exactly the opposite thing to what I had planned for them: I love it when that happens, but it’s the sort of thing that means plans have to be set aside. I also had a couple of transitional scenes that ended up being a bit meatier than expected (sometimes the journey ends up more interesting than the destination).

So I was in a good place by Thursday, I’d made progress, but I hadn’t reached the finish line. I wasn’t too worried about that. I’d realised that my final scene needed a bit more plotting (I knew what needed to happened, just not exactly where or how) so the extra time ended up being necessary.

I completed the first draft on Tuesday. I had a quiet moment of celebration to myself, walked around with a bit more of a spring in my step, and then started thinking about all of the things that still needed fixing (it was only a first draft of course). Now that I’ve got the plot out of the way I can go back and sort out the characters; after nearly two years they’re different than the people they started out as, but the text doesn’t always reflect that evolution. One or two scenes don’t quite work the way I wanted them to, but with the endpoint now clearly in sight I can go back and move the pieces slightly to make it work.

The good news is that I’ve cleared that enormous hurdle of ‘the final line’, which is only slightly less hard to face than ‘the first line’. Now the fun part begins. Now I get to edit!