Writing a novel is hard, so it’s always a relief when I finish one. Earlier this week, I typed my two of my favorite words—THE END—on the first draft of the young adult book I am co-authoring with a good friend of mine. I’ve mentioned in some other posts that I had taken the lead on writing this initial draft, based on a detailed outline assembled by my co-author, so I’ve been plugging away for 5-6 months putting meat on the bones given to me.
The book, which currently has no title but to which we’ve come to call Epic Band, came in at just over 76K words, which is pretty close to our 80K target. It’s flawed, and it will require a a fair amount of work to whip it into any semblance of publishable shape, but I think the hard part is done. The story is solid and the characters are compelling, so with a bit of ruthless revision, I’m confident we can get the second draft into decent shape.
To be honest, I’m not that concerned because the first drafts of most of my novels have had significant problems with them. The ending of Epic Band comes off a bit flat, and it needs a compelling secondary story thread to flush out the middle. That might sound like a lot, but I think adding the latter will help the former because the ending itself isn’t a bad one—it’s the right ending—it’s just that the story doesn’t do a good enough job yet at raising the stakes for our hero or clearly defining what he wants. That leaves an ending that simply isn’t as satisfying as it should be because the story lacks tension. These are all fixable problems. My co-author and I just need to decide how we want to do it.
For now, I’ve sent the manuscript off to my co-author with a detailed “post-mortem” outlining all of the shortcomings I identified as I was writing the draft. After he’s had a chance to review everything, we’ll discuss paths forward. I’m not sure how the revision process is going to work, but I think my co-author is going to take the lead on it, which will be nice. I have the first draft of book six of my Calypto Cycle that needs revision, and I want to write a couple of short stories because my stock on submission is getting smaller, and I started a new day job recently, and . . . yeah, lot’s going on, but I don’t think I’d want it any other way.
Oh yeah. Nothing comes close to typing those two words at the end of a first draft, even though I know that a bunch of work still needs to be done before I can whip the manuscript into shape. Thanks for this post!
Oddly, I find my favorite part of writing a story (or article or science paper) is the revision stage. That’s where I can hone all the dull edges of a crudely hacked out first draft into something razor sharp. The first draft is a hump to get over, so being able to write “The End” is very satisfying for me. Thanks for stopping by.