Thursday, May 03, 2007

41 Chapters, 119,241 Words = DONE!!!

Finished the second complete draft of my first novel, THE REFLECTING STONE, this morning. The later chapters are certainly first-draft material again, rough around the edges. Still, out of the many thousands of pages I wrote the past week there is a lot of really solid material to work with. I am guessing now that I'll end up with a third draft, but I'm not sure yet. At any rate, some of what I have is definitely what I want, and some of it is "getting there". I may just rewrite the portions that need it and tie that in with the chapters that I'm happy with. I'll have to wait and see.

Next is a short break from this, so I can gain a little distance, and then I'll read over what I have and assess the damage. Then I'll decide what needs rewriting, and whether to rewrite the whole thing or just sections. Then I'll get to work on that. I'm only a few days after my self-imposed deadline of the end of April for the completion of this draft, close enough. I can take the time to figure things out and still get another complete draft done within May or by early June.

My goal is get a COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT done as soon as possible and to start sending it out. I will take the time I need, but hope to get it done this summer, which was the same time I set for last year -- last summer -- but I was much too premature with that goal. I'm much closer now, might actually make it this time around.

I'll consider whether to work on another novel, one I had planned in detail last year (OCCUPANT), or work on my second novel, doing another rewrite of that (THE ISLE), while I let this current draft cool off. I wonder whether I should avoid any more work on THE ISLE, though, until I pin this first novel down very tightly, because that is the sequel, and my first draft gave me enough to work with, and any more work there would be tenuous at best while this first novel is still open to "tweaking". OCCUPANT would make a great side project, not too long, not too complicated compared with THE REFLECTING STONE.

Oh, and by the way, I still LOVE the characters and the story. I haven't gotten tired of it or them yet. I only get that way when I go over and over the same few scenes or chapters again and again and again, rewriting and editing them. Otherwise, I don't tire of the work.

Also, going so quickly this past week has helped me see the story in a more cohesive fashion, which is lost when I move more slowly. I really got into it, and was amazed at how I was able to keep track of so, so, so many details, raising questions or setting up things in one chapter, coming back to them repeatedly, then resolving them in later chapters. I had no idea I could keep track of that much in my head. It's good to push myself, to raise my limits, expand my horizons. That's the way to learn and grow, and see just what I'm capable of.

Well, I'm off to take care of other things. I hope to find something to work on quickly, though. I don't think I do as well if I take a total break from the writing, unless I'm really burned out. It's best to keep the momentum, although I'll work at a slower pace in the coming week after the mad rush of the past week. I'm afraid if I stop altogether for a week, I'll find it hard to get started again. Maybe this is a time to write some other stuff, develop some other ideas, just to keep plugging away.

Wishing everyone progress and joy in their work,



Gabriele C. said...

Congrats on finishing.

I juggle a lot in my brain. Over the years I realised I can do with a basic outline and some notes on characters (and historical research) without losing track of details, despite the fact I write a) out of order, and b) on several projects simultaneously. Fixing too much prework in written form only bogs me down.

Susan Flemming said...

Congratulations Adrian. That is wonderful!

Maybe during the break you could work on getting the website up and running that you mentioned a post or two back. You'd still be writing, just a different kind of writing.

Oh and if you haven't read through his stuff yet... Randy Ingermanson has some great ideas for designing your website and writing articles for it, that will draw traffic and get your site ranked high in Google and other search engines. I've used some of his ideas, tweaking them in a way that works for me and within days they made a difference to my ranking.

You've got so much material already with your posts here and on your Tips blog. And with the speed your write and edit... it wouldn't take you long to adapt those to optimize search engine ranking and to start building name recognition and a platform for when your novel is published.

Adrian Swift said...

Gabriele and Susan,

thank you each for your comments. It's nice hearing from you!

I have always been amazed at how much information historical fiction writers can work with and still create fiction, a work of art. I think it's really amazing, Gabriele, that you can work with multiple stories and write them out of sequence, keeping all that information in your head at one time!

Thanks for the tips, Susan -- I'll be sure to check out his site. I have visited it recently after you blogged about it. He has added new stuff, including a blog. I'll have to look for the information you mentioned.

KATE EVANS said...

wow! I don't know you, just found you, but as a fellow writer, I celebrate your success.

Benjamin Solah said...

I'll congratulate you again as you're making an awesome effort. I can see how writing at the pace you do does you good with cohesion etc. It's something I lost when writing a novel two years ago, or somewhere distant.

When writing short stories, I usually write flash fiction in the breaks before I go back to editing. Maybe for novels, writing a short story could do you good.

Adrian Swift said...

Kate and Benjamin,

thank you for sharing your comments!

Nice of you to drop by, Kate. I'll check out your blog this weekend. It's always nice to meet fellow writers!

That's an intriguing idea, Benjamin. I hadn't really thought of working on short stories, but I can see what you mean about using time between other projects to develop shorter pieces which could serve as submissions to magazines or online publications, etc. Still, I'm focused primarily on novels, so I'll have to think about it, but that's a great idea and I'll keep it in mind.

Best wishes to each of you with your own writing!

KATE EVANS said...

Thanks for visiting my site. I'm gonna link you to me, if that's okay with you. :)

Wynn Bexton said...

Good work, Adrian! I've not been writing much this past week or so due to classes, appts. and today an all-day travel writer's gala. But I did make a few notes and sent out queries re some of my travel stories. I'd wanted to finish this part of my novel before going off to Greece but perhaps it won't happen. However, I'll at least get a little more of it together, if even in the rough.

Adrian Swift said...

Kate and Wynn,

thanks for your comments!

Kate, feel free to link to me. I'll add a link to your site as well. I'm glad we discovered each other's blogs! I thought the cover art you found was really intriguing, and your story concept would make for a very interesting read!

Wynn, thanks. The encouragement from other writers definitely helps. All we can do is just to plug along, do what we can when we can. Sometimes it's faster, sometimes not, but if we keep at it, as you know, we do get there. I figured you were probably busy gearing up for your trip. The travel writing event must have been a lot of fun. Your blog readers are looking forward to reading about Greece!