17 October, 2011

First draft completed

Last night around 00:15 I completed the first draft of my novel in progress. 164,396 words in the draft, although considerably more words were written along the way (five chapters were rewritten from scratch, and numerous other small edits were made along the way, of course). It was 87 days since I started the novel, on the evening of July 22, for an average of 1,889 words per day, which I'm quite happy with considering that I can only work on it for at most two or three hours a day, on a good day.

This is the longest piece of writing I've ever completed. The tiny demons of self-doubt made a few sallies during that time, but I managed to suppress them. However this is only the first draft (well, the prologue and chapters 1-4 are on their second full drafts... actually, so is chapter 23, come to think of it, which I wrote from the wrong character's POV the first time around).

Now the hard part begins: rewriting chapters 5-32 and the epilogue from scratch again, incorporating all the new developments I came up with along the way. There's entire organizations I invented for background, who aren't mentioned until 2/3 of the way through now (because that's when I came up with them), and they need to be integrated into the story, for the sake of world-building and flavor. I'm pretty happy with the main story and character development, and it ends in a good place: this is the first novel in a planned trilogy.

Rewriting entire chapters from scratch is painfully difficult, but it is necessary. Once I've got all the story beats in place properly, the final phase will be to go over the prose with a fine-toothed comb, making sure it flows, and that every paragraph, sentence, and line of dialogue is as compact and interesting as possible. 164k words is a lot longer than the average novel, as I understand it, but I don't think there's any unnecessary elements. (Although I'm sure I'll come across some as I'm rewriting.) There are, however, quite a lot of elaborations on things that could stand to be trimmed down.

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