I am currently writing the second draft of a 120,000-word novel. I anticipate this will be the final draft, with ongoing editing as I write and a final intense revision of the completed draft. The novel is divided into twelve chapters. I have completed the first six. So, I am half-way done. In case you want to know how I got to this point, the comments below show what has gone before!
THE HISTORY OF THE WORK:
STAGE 1: DEVELOPING THE IDEA.
I got the idea for the novel at the end of September, beginning of October, 2005 (see next posting for that story!). I spent the month of October, 2005, planning the novel. During that time I wrote extensive notes, tables and outlines, a total of 60,000 words! I read many online articles to refresh on ideas related to novel writing and to help me explore my new idea in depth.
STAGE 2: THE FIRST DRAFT.
I wrote the first draft in November, 2005, writing about half the novel, a little over 50,000 words before stopping. I realized that I was writing too quickly, and having a hard time finding the voice, tone, style, etc. However, the experience did help me see the characters and story more clearly and sharpen my focus.
STAGE 3: REVISING THE PLAN.
I spent the first few weeks of December, 2005, going back over my notes and writing a lot of new ones, revising the existing outline and further detailing the scenes. This work totaled about 20,000 words, giving me a total of 80,000 words written just to plan this novel! The new plan felt very solid when I was done with it.
STAGE 4: THE SECOND DRAFT.
In late December, 2005, I began writing the second draft. I made a lot of progress in the first month of writing, getting through the first three chapters, about 30,000 words in four weeks. I then stopped writing and put in a few weeks to edit what I had written. I needed to make sure I had a solid foundation to build the rest of the novel on. Those chapters are now very polished. I sent the first two to a reader who enjoys Fantasy novels. The reader commented the story was "captivating", very interesting, a book certainly worth buying, and that the back-cover blurb alone (see a later posting!) is enough to sell the book!
"A HICCUP ALONG THE WAY...."
With that encouragmenet I dived back into the writing. In February and March I worked very hard on Chapters 4, 5 and 6. I got hung up on Chapters 5 and 6 and spent about 6 weeks writing and rewriting them, trying to find the right balance, focus, purpose, complications, tie-in to theme, etc. I think also I was just getting burned out and needed to slow down or take a break. I had written over 140,000 words in just 6 months, more than I'd ever written before. I again turned to the internet for articles to read about writing issues (plot, character development, etc.) and with a little more encouragement from others who write I made it through and finished the chapters. That was a breakthrough since those two chapters were quite challenging for me.
"BACK ON TRACK...."
Now I'm back to work in the third quarter of the story (chapters 7, 8, 9). I'm currenlty working on Chapter 7!