I’ve just realised it’s been nearly two months since I blogged about my novel progress. It’s funny, over the weeks I’d thought of plenty of things to share about the experience so far (and honestly thought I had), but I suppose I was worried it would be a waste of my word output which would be better spent on the manuscript itself.
I’m moderately pleased to report that I’ve completed approximately two-thirds of the first draft, approaching 60,000 words. All the characters, motivations, plot points and macguffins are in play and now all that remains (ha!) is bringing it all together in the third and final act. I expect the final wordcount to be around the 80-90,000 mark which I understand is an acceptable amount for a ‘young adult’ novel.
Somewhat frustratingly, I think my hopes of having a completed first draft by Christmas is almost impossible now. I hope that I can still have a finished and published book by Michael’s 18th birthday in April. However, despite the target slippage, just recognising those progress milestones feels like an achievement.
One niggling worry I have is that the more I write, the less certain I am of the quality. Having previously only written shorter pieces, both fiction and fact-based articles for blogs and newspapers etcetera, I am used to being able to mentally keep track of every element of the prose, which enables me to avoid repetition, chop and change elements on the fly by shifting sentences and sometimes whole paragraphs around in the service of flow.
But my brain isn’t big enough to do that with the same efficacy over tens of thousands of words. There are just too many pieces of the puzzle to visualise simultaneously. Instead I’m charging on, getting the planned story down (with some unexpected deviations), with this growing itch that I’ve forgotten some key element, or I’ve repeated some dialogue ideas. I just can’t remember that far back with exacting detail. I’ve already caught myself writing two very similar campfire scenes several chapters apart. I’m writing beneath the spectre of uncertainty.
Of course when the first draft is finished, I intend to go back to edit, tidy and rework elements as required (I’ve got a growing list).
On the plus side and whatever the final outcome, so far it’s been an immensely satisfying process. The sheer joy of being able to write about beloved, deceased family members in new and interesting situations has been cathartic and heartwarming – sentiments I hope will convey to the reader.
I’ve been able to send Michael swimming with my Mum, sailing with my Dad, he’s been hang-gliding with my old schoolfriend Paul, he’s been camping, driving, animal taming and he’s currently preparing to tear apart the fabric of reality to get back home. Bloody kids, who’s going to tidy that up?
So I’d best get back to that to it, the clock’s ticking.
Thanks for reading.
[Image courtesy of letsgopeakdistrict.co.uk]