95k in the first draft ... now for the hard work!

Yesterday at about noon, I finished the first draft of my next novel, tentatively titled "Thunderstruck", in the back of my favorite coffee shop in downtown Saranac Lake (Origin, if you were wondering). It is nearly 95 thousand words, and my experience (based on writing the last three novels in the series) is that the final product will be a bit longer when all is said and done.

I sent the document to my first reader in multiple formats shortly after finishing, and then this morning printed out a copy for an initial read-through ... there's something about reading and marking and flagging a printed copy that just isn't there with electronic forms.

95k words translates to 204 pages in 8.5X11 paper, and probably a bit more than 300 pages in the size that I tend to print my books, but that's a discussion for much later in the process (maybe January).

What happens today is that my reader/minion begins working her way through the novel, looking for story continuity, character development, unintended cliffhangers, slow stretches, nonsense, and the too-frequent use of the word "frangible" ... we're trying to find and fix big-picture issues with the book on this go-around.

Once she's done, and we've had a talk/meeting/drink/debrief, I'll head back to my lonely writer's garret to try and cut and prune and graft and polish the first draft into a second draft. If all goes as planned, I'll then share that product with a slightly broader audience, and go through the same thing again. Eventually, with sufficient 'rinse and repeat'-ing, I'll end up with a story that pleases most of the people most of the time.

It's important to keep the Neil Gaiman quote above in mind ... readers can find the problem with your work, but very seldom can they give you the secret to fixing it (that's all on you, or in this case, me).

It's a long process, but it's generally more fun than going to the dentist, and in this instance, I've got what I think is a pretty good story to work with as base material.



1 comment:

Unknown said...

Interesting reading! The process is familiar to me.