Monday, November 17, 2008

Completion of the First Draft of My First Novel, The Hidden Land of Gre

First, the stats:

The Hidden Land of Gre is a story about a girl and boy who go on a great adventure to save a dying race from an ancient curse.

Final length 71,467 words.
Start date: February 2008.
End date: November 2008.

Wow. I'm overwhelmed and speechless. I've just finished the first draft of my first novel.

I can't say that I've ever stuck with a big project like this (outside of "work," that is) long enough to see it through. It's an achievement, something to be proud of, and I think that everyone should take some time out to recognize their personal milestones. It's too easy to say "Phew, that's off my list, what's next?" But on the other hand, if I've learned one thing from all the wonderful people I've met over my last few months of learning the writer's ropes, it's that my work has only just begun!

Here are my next steps:
  • Format the novel, probably in Adobe InDesign, and print a copy or two on Lulu. It was actually my boyfriend's suggestion, and I think it's a good one. The novel still has a long way to go, but it will be fun to have a rough draft copy for posterity!

  • Let the novel sit. Most authors I've talked to have suggested this step. Despite the fact that it's been ten months since I've read some parts, I think it still needs to "gel."
  • Work on my "character bibles." My understanding is that these are documents used to get to know your characters better. I think my characters have changed and coalesced over time, so this will help when I get to the rewriting stage.

  • I'm toying with the idea of writing the next book in the series before rewriting the first book. I know the rewrites will be a pain, editing tends to be harder for me than writing. Perhaps I could do both at the same time?

  • And then, of course, rewrites, read-throughs, and edits for the foreseeable future!

Before all that, I suppose I should take some time out to celebrate... Thought it feels like a celebration just to know that I've actually done what I set out to do. Then again, watching a bit of Puppy Cam and eating chocolate is a pretty sweet, easily accessible reward!

Last but not least, I'd like to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone on Twitter and elsewhere who've offered their congratulations. And of course, thanks to all those who've buoyed me through my writer's journey!

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