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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | First Draft Finished!

First Draft Finished!

There’s nothing like that feeling, is there?

Late last Thursday night, I finished GRUNSDAY, the manuscript I started on April 2.  Fifteen weeks of writing (interrupted by work on THE CAGED GRAVES twice), and it finished up at a bloated 98.5k words.  Yikes.
It’s a mess, too.  World-building errors, the voice isn’t quite right, and it loses focus in the middle. (Which tells me exactly where I need to do some major slashing).  But I did it, and this is a big deal for me because the story is well outside my comfort zone.  It’s contemporary – and a fantasy. I took a risk, and there were times I told myself I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off.
One of my biggest worries (besides the world-building) was the climax.  For some insane reason, I was set on having the climax take place here:
via Wikipedia Commons

That’s the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico.  I’ve never been there – but that’s where my protagonists were supposed to fight for their lives.  So, I bought a book. I looked at pictures and articles on the internet.  I watched videos on YouTube of people climbing to the top.  And I put together a climax that satisfied my CPs – although I know it’s probably not as accurate as it could be.

Or as it WILL be.
Because my husband is taking me there next month! We’ll be spending two nights at a hotel adjacent to the ruins, and my husband has arranged for a private tour guide who knows I’m doing book research and will take me exactly where I want to go.  I am going to climb that pyramid and see exactly what my characters will see.  I’m sure I’ll have to change some details, but I no longer have any doubt that I’ll be able to fix whatever needs fixing.
I made it this far!  Woo hoo!
Have I mentioned lately what a great guy my husband is?  XOXO, Bob!

23 Responses to First Draft Finished!

  1. Sarah says:

    Dianne! Massive congratulations! Even if it still needs work, getting the full draft done is a major accomplishment, and it sounds like you’ve planned an utterly fabulous reward for yourself. Or should I say your husband has? Way to go, Bob!

  2. Clare says:

    Congratulations on getting your manuscript finished, it’s a great feeling, isn’t it?!

    Oh wow, your husband is taking you to Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico, how awesome is he? Research is an excellent excuse for a vacation, I hope you get all you need to from your visit.

  3. WOW, Dianne – go you!! Finishing this draft – what a great accomplishment!! And what a SA-WEET reward!!!

  4. Jess says:

    SO cool that you get to visit the site of your book’s climax!!! And hooray for finishing first drafts~ I adore finishing first drafts 🙂

  5. that is SO COOL! Enjoy the vacation/research(but really… vacation) spot!:)LOL And I don’t have to say ‘enjoy the revisions’ because I know you’re weird like that and really will:)

  6. That is awesome! What a wonderful gift. Make sure you bring several notebooks!

  7. Fiona Claire says:

    Dance and sing! I really think finishing a ms is an occasion worthy of throwing a party. And a party in Mexico sounds ever-so-fab – tequila, pinatas, guacamole. Just remember, don’t drink the water.

  8. Lydia Kang says:

    So cool! Have fun on the trip. I climbed a similar pyramid at Xcaret, or was it Xel-ha? I can’t remember, but it was so steep I was completely freaked out that I might fall down the stairs. I heard no one is allowed to climb it anymore because too many people have tumbled off it. So climb carefully!

  9. Finishing that first draft (and so quickly!) is quite an accomplishment, but I am tee-totally impressed that you guys are actually going to Mexico! Wow! He’s gotta be, like the most supportive husband EVER. Take lots of pictures. (They’d be great to put on Pinterest to promote interest in your book.)

  10. JEM says:

    SO. INCREDIBLY. JEALOUS.
    I’m writing a story that takes place here as well! Weird, tiny world. I don’t have plans to visit there (yet!), but maybe I’ll sift through your experiences as first-person accounts :). Congrats on finishing!

  11. Yay for finishing the first draft. And yay for getting a trip to Mexico to see those ruins. Sounds like you earned it. And I LOVE research. It can change so much of your story by actually being there.

  12. mshatch says:

    ha! I knew you could do it! And yes, you are lucky! But I suspect it works both ways 🙂

  13. Woot woot! You’re right. There’s nothing like finishing that first draft. Savor it!!

  14. Linda G. says:

    Congrats on finishing your ms! And it rocks that you’re going to get to go see the setting of the climax in person!!!

  15. Wahoo!! You are very lucky!! How awesome. I expect some awesome details. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear all about it. I love doing real live research. Experience it and soak it all in.

  16. DL Hammons says:

    Kudo’s to hubby!! Although he’s making the rest of us dudes look bad! 🙂

  17. vbtremper says:

    Wow, you’re quick! What an amazing trip you have planned. Enjoy every minute of that experience.

    -Vicki

  18. Jaime Loren says:

    Yay, Dianne! Well done! How exciting that you’ll be able to put yourself in your characters’ shoes!

    Your hubby is definitely a keeper! 😉

  19. I’m so impressed with your work-rate! And how fantastic to be able to visit the scene and really visualise your characters in place. Enjoy the research!

  20. Mina Burrows says:

    Holy, kick some butt on you WIP, batman! That’s awesome! Congrats!

  21. Wow that’s some major (and exciting) research!!!!! Pass some mojo on to me! 😀

  22. I’m so jealous. I studied the Maya for a long time for a book and I have several scenes at the top of the pyramids. I would looooove to go there in person. But blogs, YouTube and history documentaries all helped! Have a blast!

  23. CONGRATS! That is awesome.