I've done it!
Tonight, after about an hour of writing, I was able to type 'THE END' on the last page of the manuscript. Lazarus Island has moved one significant step closer towards a full resurrection. I looked up the date that I started this story, and found - to my horror - that it was December 2003! Almost three years! Except, of course, I haven't been working on it for all that time. There was a period of about eighteen months where I wasn't even thinking about it, when it had been dumped unceremoniously in the metaphorical 'sock drawer' on my PC. But here I am, excited at having reached this milestone. There is a lot to do on the second draft - and I mean, a lot. But the bare bones of Lazarus have been laid down. The second draft is hopefully when it really comes to life.
In his book Plot, Ansen Dibell says: '...keep writing away until you have one whole first draft done. Then go ahead and start the kind of invention, addition, and deletion only possible in solid second-draft writing.'
Another exciting aspect about the point I'm at right now is that, for the first time in my life, I don't know what I'm going to write next. I've always been plagued in the past by too many ideas, and have always ended up jumping from one new idea to the next and never finishing any of them. Things have changed. By choice or by circumstance, I've managed to focus my energies on one story, one novel. And that focus has paid off so far. Yes, I've got a couple of inklings for my second novel, but that's all they are at the moment - inklings. Part of me would like to keep it that way until I've fully completed Lazarus Island, second draft and beyond. But the other part of me - the writer - needs to be producing new material. It's always advised to leave a novel after the initial draft, to work on something else for a while so that the dust surrounding the first novel can settle. That's the plan.
But I'm excited. Very excited. And I can't wait to see what the future brings.