Finishing a Rough Draft: a Retrospective

Yesterday at 3:17pm I finished the rough draft of Book I: The U.S. of After, the first installment of a larger novel This Broken Earth.  The novel is about the lives of several individuals on a trek to find their way to New Orleans from Norman, Oklahoma after the events of World War 3 and a vicious pandemic sweep the earth clean of one third of the population.

I will have to say, I feel like I’m writing some of the best prose I have written in 20 years.  The novel is told from the perspective of several characters, with each chapter title naming the voice of each of the main characters (and some minor).  I love that the voice shifts, that some of the characters tell the reader secrets that come to fruition later in the story (and sometimes not at all, but that is for subsequent installments), and that suspense is sometimes heightened through the dramatic irony of the reader knowing something that the characters do not, and I have caused the reader to fall in love with that character who they know might soon come to an untimely end…at any moment…unexpectedly.

Today I will edit through the text for continuity, style, description and details that need to be added, and tomorrow I will specifically go through all of each character’s chapters to make sure that the voices all sound right.  Clayton, my main character, has a strong Oklahoma drawl as his parents are from the Madill/Tishomingo/Milburn area or Johnson county and he sounds like them.  Amy sounds like the normal central Oklahoma raised sorority girl, and Ralph maintains the faint hint of his long ago Seminole ancestor’s language even if he only understands a few of the words his grandfather spoke.  There is a cadence to Ralph’s voice that is unique to his tribe, and I hope that I have captured the noble essence of his cultural background.  Ethan, another character introduced later in the book, is from Trenton, New Jersey originally, and has that back east sound to his accent, while Howard, a character who has lived on this earth for a long time (hint) has picked up the vernacular of the people he has followed around.

Once I edit through it, it is off to the proof readers for more comments and critique, then I’ll edit the whole thing together and prepare it for shipping to all the digital outlets, and then the world can read about a possible future for us all…and, it turns out, there is hope for us even in the most bleak of circumstances.

Of course, you will have to read the book when it comes out on August 1st if you want to know the details.  Book I: The U.S. of After is absolutely free, and will be available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes and Smashwords.  Don’t have an e-reader, you say?  Kindle has a freely downloadable app for your smart phone and Smashwords will have a PDF for your computer screen.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

2 thoughts on “Finishing a Rough Draft: a Retrospective

  1. Good for you! Wait to keep at it. Many writers like to say that the first draft is just the beginning, and it’s true that there is always still editing and re-writes to be done. (And, depending on if you’re a plotter or a discovery writer you may have more to do after first draft.) But for me, the first draft is such a mile-stone. Even though there’s still definitely work to be done, it feels like the hardest part is behind me. Can’t wait to read your book! 😀

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