We Have Liftoff

RocketI was in grade school during the late 60’s, and remember watching rocket launches on TV. The rocket would just sit there, and then fire would come out the bottom, and it would wobble and shake, and you weren’t sure it was really going to happen, and them BAM. The rocket was launched. Now, getting to the moon, orbiting, landing, taking off again, and getting back to earth, all part of the same journey.

But it started with liftoff.

Well, dear readers, I have an update on my manuscript.

We have liftoff. Or, in writers’ parlance, the first draft is done.

I had a June 30 goal, and met it. It is short, rough, and needs TLC before anyone else can read it. But going from plot outline to a draft is a big step.

I printed it out, singled spaced, so I can read it through in a couple of days. This isn’t an edit, per se. This will be a “how’s the story hold together?” read. Next steps include:

  • Does the timeline work? (Remember, I am writing a mystery.)
  • Are all of the suspects in enough scenes?
  • Are there enough red herrings?
  • Does my sleuth (Ruth) do enough investigating, or does the story just happen to her?
  • Do the scenes make sense where they are, or should I move them around to keep the pace up? (Thank you Scrivener!)
  • Does the dramatic structure work? (Pacing of the story, payoff at the end.)

Once I’ve made those big picture changes, I will go back in and layer. Details and descriptions. Making sure all five senses are engaged in each scene. Research. Filling out subplot. More research. Adding the story arc that will work through all three books.

Then an edit. Are there talking heads? How many adverbs am I using? What other writers’ tics do I have that need to be eliminated?

Then my first reader.

By September 15, I will land on the moon, and send in my manuscript. But for today, this week? I am celebrating liftoff.


J.A. Hennrikus writes short stories. Julianne Holmes is writing the Clock Shop Mystery series. And Julie Hennrikus works in the theater.

14 thoughts on “We Have Liftoff

  1. Pleased to read this this morning. I am parallel with you. I started in January when I retired to write my first full length novel. I had started with Easter as my goal for first draft, but found the story longer and the path working with a great writing coach who came alongside a little more deliberate. I printed the first draft on June 15th. We have taken a short break and then diving back in this month to begin review and rewrites. My landing may not be until end of the year but it is great feeling to have the launch! Thanks.

  2. Congratulations on what you’ve accomplished and best of luck on what remains. You’ve obviously got a clear plan–the best and most fun and greatest satisfaction is yet to come, as you know. Keep me posted.

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