Draft 1 – Finito!

So earlier in the week something pretty special happened. I wrote the final line of my novel. At last, after over a year’s worth of toil and effort I had finished the first draft! Do the dance, make a little love, get down tonight, get down tonight. I am somewhat pleased about this.

Now obviously I would be an utter fool to think this was it – that the novel was done and dusted or even near to that stage. My writing is full of typos and there’s several chapters which I know just stink – but I was at the stage where I just needed to get something down so I could move on and come back to it. And there’s a list of immediate things that need fixed – here’s one: “Fix Jonas’ leg”.

Jonas Bannerman (my main character) falls and badly breaks his leg. He carries out an impromptu repair and later it is put into a cast. He spends a couple of chapters hobbling around of crutches and then that’s it. Suddenly he’s just walking and occasionally even running around – all mention of the injured leg forgotten. But I have a plan for that – rather going through and redoing all descriptions of him moving around from that point onwards and describing a long and painful healing process I’m going to do something else. Jonas is going to fix his leg and he’s going to do it using technology. That’s one of the main themes of the novel – how technology can be used to fix and better things (it’s how most situations are resolved, with MacGuyver-style invention) so with one extra scene Jonas is going to completely repair that leg. Nice one Jonas.

So what’s the plan now then? Do the dance. Well first I’m going to fix my list of immediate issues (as described above) and then I’ll go Part 3, as I did with Part 1 and 2 and fix spelling mistakes and rewrite any sentences that sound off. That will be the end of Draft 2 (so technically I’m already 2/3 of the way through that). I’m then going use Lulu to get myself a paperback version printed – this both so I’ve got something physical I can hold but also so I have a compact manuscript that I go through and edit on the train, etc and go through the entire thing start to finish and figure out what is and isn’t working and what’s missing. Once these things are fixed that will represent Draft 3. At that stage I’ll start letting people read the thing! I’ll choose a select group of readers who will hopefully A) Actually read the thing and B) Be brutally honest about. The changes coming out of that will be Draft 4 and then at that stage we should hopefully, hopefully be at very near having a finished product! Professional editing and proofing is a bridge I’ll leap off further down the line.

So – now back the celebrations. Get down tonight, get down tonight. Whilst I’m realistic about the journey ahead I am also still buzzing with excitement at having reached this point. It represents an achievement that few others can say they have achieved – starting writing a novel and not just given up after a few chapters. Although I haven’t actually used the words “THE END” I am exceedingly pleased with the final line – it is short and to the point but encapsulates both the title of the novel and the sense that at long last, everything has been resolved.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’ll know that in the past I’ve posted both images of my progress in pages and some hardcore statistics. I will now repeat this process with updated data. If you don’t like crunching stats then you don’t need to read any further.

When I previously posted my page length it was 235 pages / 80,000 words and that was at the end of Part 2. Well Part 3 has increased in size significantly over it’s predecessors and takes me to: 413 pages / 150,000 words.

And here is the graph showing my increase in words. You’ll notice that up until halfway through I was struggling to meet my target amount of words but then it picks up and the green finally rises above the blue. Well as we can see, Part 3 had a lot more to it than I expected and completely blew my original estimate of 120,000 words out of the water.

And are some updated facts:

  • I have been writing for: 16 months
  • Out of which I actually wrote on 183 days or roughly 39% of the time
  • I have written a total of: 151,935 words
  • I have written an average of 831 words per day (on days when I wrote)
  • Or an average of 329 words per day (including days that I don’t write)

So there we have it! I’ll be revealing more details about the novel more soon and will also be on the lookout for Beta readers. Oh and if you’re a writer and if you liked those stats – you’re going to love the little project I’m working on right now.

Title image courtesy puliarfanita

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 10:38 AM  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Congrats on the first draft! It may not be done yet, but it’s a huge milestone. Sounds like you’re well on your way to getting it all done. Love the stats too. Makes me want to break out the calculator hehe. Celebrate! You deserve it.

  2. Congratulations!!! What a huge achievement, and how nice to already be on your way with the 2nd draft. I love the stats and it makes me want to go back to tracking more meticulously. I especially like the tracking of days since you started vs days actually writing.

  3. Mondo Congratulations. That is truly an awesome accomplishment.

    I never thought of keeping such stats on my writing… but now I can see that I cannot not keep such stats, that idea having thus entered into my head.

  4. Thank you all for your kind words. I am totally relieved to have reached this point – feel like there’s no way I can no complete the thing now!

    And regarding stats – seriously you’re going to love my Secret Project. It should be available in the next few days.

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