Friday, September 11, 2015

End of the Road, Bottom of a Hill

Sitting at 139,456 words, my first draft is finished!

It's amazing, exhausting, and exhilarating.

And I've barely scratched the surface.

When I started this book on January 18, 2015, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I also didn't know I was going to write to date the longest book I've ever written.  I've spent a few days this last week printing it out and now my entire manuscript is filling a ringed binder.  I read through the first twelve chapters today and did some marking up in spots that need fixing.

The good news is, I'm really excited about the story and how things shook out.  The bad news? I'm going to have a lot of chipping away to do before this thing shines.

There are obvious things, like the fact Gwen has a constantly changing guard when it is only supposed to be one because I couldn't figure out which knight I wanted to have by her side (I think I've figured it out but you never know when that might change), or a character that was more of a main and is now a side character, or a character I am writing out all together.  I had two bad guys and when I was flipping through the pages today (291 gloriously printed ones :), I realized it would be much more logical if my two bad guys were merged into one.  Then there were some awesome moments I read today where she went from not knowing the guy's name to magically knowing it.

I'm proud of Gwen, even though every move she's made and every thought she's experienced have come from me.  She really grew up by the end of the book and doesn't need the people around her to live a happy life.  Arthur hasn't quite reached his awesomeness peak potential but that's more because I was focused on Gwen in my first draft.  I'll be discovering Arthur a bit more in my second though he's in like every one of my favorite scenes.  I haven't had detachment syndrome from her or Arthur yet but I think it's because I know I'm not truly finished yet.  I've jumped the first hurdle, now I have a few more to go.

I've read a ton of people talk about editing and how much they hate it.  I have only really gone through it twice, once with Only Human and then my novella, but this will be way different.  I've learned a lot since I worked on Only Human last year (seems like a lot longer than that) and this manuscript is twenty-five thousand words longer.  All that to say, I'm really excited about the editing.  Yes, it's monotonous and hard and you have to cut scenes that you love and go over and over paragraphs that aren't working out (and weasel words.  I have a love/hate relationship with those babies) but everything comes together.  All through writing a first draft, every time something doesn't work out, I just keep telling myself "I'll fix this in editing." Then, when I get to editing, my biggest fear isn't the time spent but how it will end up.  Will the hours and hours be worth it? Will I love this book as much as I want to?

I'm not sure if people ever feel their work is perfect and I don't expect to.  Actually, it would be awesome if I could tell people "I wrote a book" and not cringe when they ask if they can read it. *cough* Only Human *cough*.

I'm glad to be making progress and really excited for Monday when I'll be starting the next book.  New characters, new setting, new challenge.

So. Ready.

-Anna Leigh