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  • Writer's pictureRosie J.

First Draft Finished + An Excerpt

I did it!

I finally did it!

I'm a little late writing this blog, because I released two blogs earlier this month (Link | Saga Genre Writers Con Part 3 and my April contribution to the Link | Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop if you missed them). Then, this last week has been full of musical goodness! You can read my blog about that here: Link | Rosie sings Mozart's Requiem.

But, on the weekend of April 8th, I finished the first draft of my holiday romance!

This is the first time I've finished a manuscript draft since either 2014 or 2015!

*waves pompoms, throws confetti, does a happy dance*

Holiday Romance WIP, 1st Draft, Finished Total: 91,338

157 days.

5 full months with prep work in October and 6 days in April.

34 Chapters + Epilogue.

91,338 words.

Those are the stats!

I'll have to admit, I've been a bit lost since I finished it. I have plans for this year. Goals of things I want to get accomplished. My biggest goal is to get this manuscript ready to query or decide whether to self-publish it at Christmas. I wanted to put it away until May and then go back to it to start my read-through.

I felt like I didn't want to get so wrapped up in something new that I put editing the holiday romance on the back burner. And because I know myself, and know how I am with getting edits done, this is a serious possibility.

I'm also scared to read it. I've spent so much time with these characters, crafting this story, that I'm afraid to read it. Afraid it will dash the perceptions I have of the story. I know it's too long. I know it needs things cut. I need names for things. I need to fix my timeline.

That's going to be one of the biggest things I have to do. The story takes place in the week or so leading up to Christmas, but I definitely feel like I played with the calendar a bit. Repeated days. Added days. Jumped forward and then backwards. So that's going to be one of the major edits I have to make! And something I have to read closely for as I read.

I'm not sure how I want to tackle the edits either. I wish I had the resources to print it out and highlight things, but that's not going to happen with the printer I have. And honestly, I've done it in the past with two drafts and ended up not using the printed version.

I don't have a good editing style, honestly. Because I haven't done it a lot, at least not on my own work. I can edit other people's stuff all day long! But my own? There's a huge mental block there.

Anyone have any favorite editing hacks that work for them?

I think I'll use the commenting function on Dabble and then maybe also a notebook to write down things or make a spreadsheet or something. It's going to be trial and error. I actually may consider getting Scrivener for this editing process.

SO MANY OPTIONS! I don't know what to do!

I'm probably way overthinking this entire editing process.

I do want to publish this soon. I don't want to be too hasty about it. I could theoretically have it ready to self-publish this holiday season, but I also would like to give it a good try with querying and finding a traditional publisher for it. I know that means it could push it back to the holidays of 2024, but I feel like I might as well try. I will have to edit it down significantly though, since some holiday romance submissions don't accept works over 65-70k! EEK! I'm over 90k. Whoops.


Here's an excerpt from my holiday romance. This is a scene in Chapter 6, about 8,000 words in. Again, it's a scene between my main character Addie and her BFF Gemma! I don't want to spoil too many of the romantic scenes for you, plus I love Addie and Gemma's relationship. Also, any of my elder millennial readers out there may get a kick out of this one. Three beers in and Gemma was sitting on the countertop flipping through the old pictures rescued from the top of Addy’s closet, while Addy was flipping through an old CD case Gemma pulled out of hers.

“I can’t believe you still have all of these CDs…” Addie laughed.

“And something to play them on.” Gemma motioned to the old CD player she'd also dragged out of the back of her closet. “Vinyl is coming back. CDs will get their moment one day.”

“I don’t know if I’m sold on that, Gemma. Vinyl is cool. These CDs though? Hansen? Backstreet Boys? Robyn? Spice Girls?” Addie named off titles as she flipped through the giant case full of CDs. Some of them were mixed CDs that were labeled “Gemma’s Awesome Mix” or “Dance Hits.”

“Oh my god, Gemma. Is this the mix we made our senior year of high school?” Addy pulled out a CD titled "College Road Trip Mix."

“Yup. The one and only. Throw it in the CD player. Let’s see if we remember what’s on it.”

Addy popped it in the CD player and fumbled around to find the Play button. “You’d think I hadn't spent hours with one of these when we were kids. When did old technology get so foreign?”

The CD spun in the player for a few seconds, making a bit of a scratching sound, and the friends glanced at each other, eyebrows raised, waiting for the music to play.

After a few skips and scratching a familiar “I think I did it again…” finally started playing.

“Oh man.” Addy took a swig of her beer before turning the bottle into a microphone and belting out the decades-old tune.


Alright! I hope you enjoyed that little excerpt. Let me know in the comments if you have any tips or tricks for successful edits on a first draft!

Join me on Wednesdays at 8pm EDT and Fridays at 1pm EDT for Writing & Coworking sprints on Twitch!

For now,

Rosie J.

an outline of a rose in bloom

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