So, I’ve been writing again.
This is A Big Deal for me. I haven’t worked on my novel for almost a year. I don’t know if I’d call it a wasted year, since I have made a lot of cognitive leaps forwards in the past two weeks. I’ve managed to find several new plot twists that will improve the novel immeasurably. I’ve made it more unique, stripped out a lot of the imitative qualities, and added a lot more action and drama. All good.
I probably would not have done those things if I’d continued to plod forwards last summer. I was at a dead end, looking forwards to my characters stumbling through a dead and boring middle section of the novel. I was bored with it, my characters were bored with it, and any readers would have been equally bored. I imagined books being thrown across the room and just stopped where I was.
I’ve been going back and making some changes, but a lot of the revision is going to have to wait for the first draft to be finished. I’ve begun even jotting little notes in parenthesis when a new idea comes to mind, something that I can expand and improve upon in the second draft. I have no illusions that I’m writing deathless prose right now– there are a LOT of fragments and awkward phrases. I know that I’ll have to just print the thing out and take a red pencil to it, then type in the corrections. This doesn’t sound daunting anymore, it sounds a lot more like the right and proper approach to a novel. It just took me another year to get my head straight.
I’ve been writing 250-350 words at a go, but I know I can do better than that. Right now, with all the cuts I’ve been making, the manuscript stands at 53,000 words. I estimate that it needs to be 100k in the final draft, so I’ll add in another 57,000 words and cut about a tenth of the first draft to arrive at the polished total. 57,000 words, at 1000 words a day . . . yeah. I can do that. I know where I’m going, roughly, and I know that I need to keep the action going even in the middle of the novel. I can’t let it droop– I’m not a good enough author to astonish people simply by putting words on an empty page. There’s got to be some juicy stuff in there.
Then I have to start plotting out and writing the next book in the series. (I know, mea culpa, it’s a trilogy.) I may work on a romance novel or YA novel in between. Probably will. I’ll need a break from dragons and swords and blood.
Now, to go write my 1000 words for the day.