Over my recent road trip, I finally began to look at the manuscript I'd finished last month. I'd been holding off reading it for quite a while because I feared it was sort of a mess. Now that I've gone through half of it, I can confirm that it is a mess, though less of the mess I'd assumed it to be.
First drafts are a time to play with themes and ideas, a place to work them out on paper and see what comes of them. There are aspects of the story that I tried to capture that just didn't work out. I kind of knew they weren't working out even as I was writing them, and that added to my frustration simply because I thought I had to make them work in order for the story to work. But time away gives new perspective. I see now that the story can be stronger without them.
Now is the time where I have to weed the garden, so to speak. Narrow my focus. Explore deeper the aspects that are working and abandon the threads that never really wove themselves properly into the story. It's a daunting task, but one I feel ready to tackle at this point.
Keeping my fingers crossed.