I have some news.
Since my post about first drafting, I’ve written 37 895 words.
That took me to a total of 57 319 words for the draft.
And all the way to THE END.
Yes, I have finished. Finished, finished, finished. I have written a complete first draft. Every scene I believe should be there is there. Every step of the story is there. All characters are there. There is a beginning, a middle and an end. It has a obstacles, turning points, reversals and a climax. It has a happy ending.
It is fricking DONE.
This is the fourth novel I have tried to write and the first that I’ve finished. And I couldn’t have done it without those first four attempts or without the help of all the workshops and residencies and retreats and writing buddies and reading I’ve done over the last three years.
But in the end I did none of those things while I wrote it. I did nothing but write it. It took 50 days exactly. Every SINGLE morning of the last 50 days I got up at 5am and to my desk by 5.30 at the latest and I wrote the very next scene and I did not stop until I hit 1000 words. Then I went on with my day.
I did not let anything get in the way of this. I ignored being tired or stressed. Or cold – far out it was cold some mornings! – I did it even on the couple of days I accidentally slept in a bit. I ignored the idea that the scene would be hard to write or that I didn’t really know what would happen. I just forced myself to write it anyway.
Basically, the routine I outlined in my post about first drafting held up.
It feels momentous and also a bit weird. I was so determined and had so much energy invested in getting to the end that if feels strange to not have to keep going tomorrow morning. I don’t feel surprised. I knew I was going to do it this time.
The draft is short. I think it should be about 90,000 words. But I know what those words will be. It is missing a lot of contextual and setting type information, these are the things I need to research (but now I know exactly what I need to research). I think it is also missing a lot of internal main character stuff and a bit of sub-plot development, but I feel certain I have enough to hang the whole thing together with. I also think I have tended to write things in the least words required and that this isn’t always a good thing.
So those are all the next steps. Things I will begin to think about during my upcoming time at the Katharine Susannah Prichard centre. I’m starting to plan what I’ll do there so I can get the most out of it. Turns out it probably won’t be a big word count…although, you never know.
And the draft needs to bake a little. So I’m not going to work on it again for at least a month. Maybe more.
And what about tomorrow when I wake up at 5am? I’m going to get up and see what comes out for the next idea I have. I’m going to write 1000 words.