In our first 5 month challenge, when we started out on September 5, 2012 to write our first drafts in just over 150 days, we really had to get cooking. Get the juices flowing. Write hot and hope to create something aromatic, well-seasoned, delicious.
It’s high pressure work to concoct a full length first draft novel to a tight deadline. But it’s fun. Exhilarating. All things seem possible at the start of the journey.
We were each on our own – no chapter critiques, no feedback on story concepts, no advice on how to get un-stuck when we hit a wall – but we were able to let our creativity run free and write with the confidence of masters of our own universes.
Two of us reached “The End” by the 5 month deadline of February 5, 2013 and three did not. But it wasn’t a race. What we each learned about our own work styles will serve us well for the rest of our writing lives – lives that, if we’re to become successful, published authors – are bound to have many deadlines in the future.
At the end of Act I, our first draft “Frying Pan” phase, what did we have? Sizzling stories? Full course repasts of tasty words? Or perhaps bland, dry, overcooked dishes? Or over-seasoned potboilers?
The taste test lay ahead, the critics ready to savour or curl their literary lips at our creations. The challenge was far from over.
Still euphoric from the epic effort of our creative first-draft stage, the 5 writers met in March to re-orient and plot a renewed course for our writer’s journey. We hugged. We chattered. We toasted ourselves with a bit of bubbly. And then we had to come to grips with a hard truth.
The easy part was over.
Because as we moved on to Act II – the critique and rewrite phase – we were fully aware that we were jumping from The Frying Pan into The Fire.