Friday, January 4, 2013

First Draft—Complete!

As of last night, I could finally say, I had completed the first draft of the rewrite of my novel! Pretty exciting stuff for me. Even though the original intent was to rewrite the entirety of the ancient first draft, it just isn't going to happen in one book. It is going to have to be split into two. Which is okay. As long as the first sells. But I'm getting way ahead of myself here.

At 189,600 words, the story is too long according to publishing standards for a first time author. There are those, like Elizabeth Kostova (I'll use her as an example since her novel is also based on Vlad the Impaler), whose first time novel—The Historian—clocked out at over 200,000 words and got a pretty good chunk of change for an advance, say, the seven figure range. That doesn't mean it'll happen to me. I'm pretty sure it won't, no matter how much I fantasize over it. My chances of getting published only increase with a smaller word count. Even at 150,000 words, which is my initial goal, it may be tough, but within the genre which word counts usually run high, I may be able to get away with it, but if I can go lower without losing the voice of the work, the better. Besides, it is in need of tightening and I can see where the fat can be trimmed, once I get into the editing stage. For now I'm going to let it simmer for a couple of weeks and start working on the second book, and possibly get in a few more character sketches so Izsák isn't so lonely on my blog.

Word count isn't my only concern. Of course I want the story to be good, I want to make sure there are no grammar mistakes, continuity errors, the dialogue is realistic, so on and so forth. Luckily for me I didn't just go on writing this draft with the mindset that it's okay to write crap which is so often thrown out there as advice, but I did try to tell myself it does not need to be perfect. That's what the edits are for. I can't imagine if I had let myself write complete dreck and then go back to fix it all. I couldn't anyway. I'm too much of a perfectionist. Perhaps that's why it had taken me so long to write it. The first chapters, though, may need a complete rewrite, because skimming over them I can see how much my writing and voice has changed from when I first started a few years ago up until now. Most of the first draft, about 70%, as a guess, was written this past year alone, which is good because the voice wouldn't have changed much, but those earlier chapters kind of make me cringe. Makes me wonder, as I continue the series over the years, as my writing improves how much more differently the voice between books will change? Hopefully not so much to be noticeable.

 And of course, as I sit here finishing up my post, Biggie has decided he needs my attention and is doing everything in his power to get it. Kind of reminds me of this The Oatmeal cartoon. Only, I wish he would throw me a party for my attention instead of chewing on things he shouldn't. Ah well!


Thea said...

Congratulations on finishing your first draft! I've had to hack-n-slash before to make a better story. While it was nerve-wracking and painful at first, it didn't take me long to realize that I made the right decision when it came to my cuts. Good luck!

K.E. Skedgell said...

Thank you so much, Thea!

DLM said...

Great job - congratulations!!

Shayla Mist said...

Congratulations! May you finish many first drafts this year!

krystal jane said...


I don't have the "it's okay to write crap" mindset either. That just leaves more work for later and since it's not going to be perfect, I think we have enough work to do without making it worse for ourselves. ^_^

Happy editing!

K.E. Skedgell said...

Thank you all so much! I'm itching to get into the edits, but I'm going to be good and not look at the thing for a couple of weeks to distance myself.

That is so true, krystal jane, I don't want to make myself more work if I don't have to. Even if I throw something out, say, an entire chapter, at least the time writing it was still time well-spent, because I got in more writing practice and it helped me to see where to go with my story. And the rest that I keep that's fairly good would need little editing to make it better.

Majanka Verstraete said...

Congratulations on getting your first draft ready (or well, the first draft of your rewrite). I can't imagine writing 150k words! My books tend to be on the shorter side.

Good luck!

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