Monday, 1 June 2009

#11: Finish a 100,000+ word draft

111,096 words: finished.

It needs a wealth of rewriting, of course. I've already mentally changed the structure, started with a different scene, and dramatised my sadly tame penultimate scene. Plus I need to just rewrite a lot so it's not so... crap.

But if it's not finished in terms of editing, it's a complete story of over 100,000 words — approximately the right length for a fantasy novel (which it is), although I plan to cut it down in the rewrite so that it's between 90,000-100,000 words. I think 111,000's a little long for a first novel; besides, my writing can always be tightened up.

I've read a few novels lately, written in a similar style to how I want to write. I love how Dunedin-born Juliet Marillier writes; her stories always involve me so emotionally. I also read The Sound of Butterflies by Rachael King recently, and I noticed how beautiful the language was, how well every emotion was conveyed. Then after I finished it, and went back to get some one-sentence examples of beautiful language, I couldn't find any. By which, of course, I don't mean it wasn't well-written; it was written well enough that it flowed, with enough details to make it detailed and specific, but with few enough words that there was no purple prose.

I want to read novels with this kind of writing style so I can try and write how these authors write: language beautiful but concrete, evocative but un-purple-prosey.

But for now, regardless of writing style, I'm happy. I've finished my first draft — my wobbly, badly-written, poorly-plotted first draft of my favourite "novel" to date — and I'm happy. It may be that I never get this draft to a publishable grade, either, and I'm fine with that. But I want the experience of rewriting, of editing, of changing structures and scenes and tightening language and so forth — all of which I've done before, of course, but only for short stories. Oh, I can't wait to edit this one.

1 comment:

Matt Heppe said...

Congratulations on finishing your manuscript! (I decided to pay you a visit after you popped over to Eternal Knight.)

First draft of Eternal Knight weighed in at 210,000 words or so! I found a good critique group and together we slashed and burned down to 105,000. That's what it will weigh in at as I prepare to send off query letters. The book is far superior at 105,000.

I wish you all the best.