There is something I really want to share with all of you that I learned when I finished my first draft:
You don’t know your characters until you are almost done with book.
Because when you first meet them in your book, they’re this little figment of an idea – a small pea. But by the end, you’ve spent months thinking about them – you know how they talk. When you go out, you’re like “OMG SHE WOULD LOVE THAT SHIRT”. Whenever I go shopping now, I have to take pictures of clothes I see so I can add them to my folder on my computer labeled “Clothes for Book” because that’s what I think of.
It’s an obsession.
You become so in your characters by the end. This is something that once you achieve it, you’ll fully understand what I’m saying. But in the middle, don’t freak because you feel like your character hasn’t hit their emotional arc. I’m telling you – my first draft right now has like two conflicts. And they are within the last 100 pages. (BAD.) This is what revision is for. Just let the first draft be your drawing board – your jumping off point. It’s a huge accomplishment in of itself. Make it a special day when you finish. I started crying. I wrote Acknowledgements so I didn’t forget anyone who helped. I had ice cream with my family. I cried some more. I watched Bunheads. Stayed up late. Make it an important day.
Because if you finish that first first draft, the next ones will be easier because you KNOW you can do it.