Friday, February 17, 2006

Upon Completing a 130,000-Word Novel Draft

Last night, I finally finished up typing exactly 131,581 words of a novel draft. This is the novel I've been working on for about 5-6 years off and on, with pretty sustained work for the past year or so (four to eight hours every week). I feel a pretty big sense of accomplishment; it's been a long journey, and I had to constantly restart and remotivate myself at various points along the way. But overall I really enjoyed doing it, and I think it turned out quite interesting and provocative, even better than I expected it would.

My plan now is to set it aside for 2-3 weeks while I work on a little nonfiction missionary story for the missionary memoir anthology I'm helping compile, then I'll go back through the novel manucript and see how it holds up. My hope is that I can finish the rewrite within 3-4 weeks and send the manuscript to my agent by the end of March. I'm hoping she will be excited enough about it to show it to editors at top-dog New York publishing firms, but of course there's always the chance she may not even want to represent it. All I know is that it feels good to have an actual literary property sitting in my hands right now, and I don't think it's completely in the realm of fantasy to think I might actually sell it for $5,000-10,000, which is the range of most first novels.

I'm think this draft should hold up pretty well and be pretty easy to rewrite, because it's not merely a first draft. I've been mulling over the plot and characters for many years and have written previous drafts, so the story was already well formed in my head when I started this draft last February or so. I've made plenty more changes and discoveries along the way, but it really helped to already be so familiar with what I was trying to do, as opposed to this being an exploratory draft to start getting acquainted with possible themes, characters, etc.

As I worked on each chapter and each little chunk within a chapter, I often went over it several times and did lots of rewriting to get it where I wanted it before I moved on. However, I have never yet gone back and read the whole thing from start to finish, which I'm both looking forward to and dreading a little. I'm sure I'll spot things I can improve, but I'm hoping it all holds together well and doesn't need more work beyond the tweaking level.


Holly said...

Congratulations! I hope the revisions are fun and go really well.

William Morris said...

Congratulations, Chris.

And, of course, A Motley Vision looks forward to an exclusive interview once the novel is published. ;-)

Abel said...