Novel in a Year, plus another year

With the chill autumnal air approaching, and the kids back to school and – sigh – university, it’s time to get back to my novel.

Over the summer, three wonderful beta readers (Nick, Liz and Ruth) read my draft and gave some awesome feedback. There’s a lot to do. I realised, while scanning through their comments, that I need to go deeper into my main character, and that some of the less engaging parts of her are actually based on me (lol, I think). That said, I should be able to explain those parts much more clearly, and hopefully sympathetically.

Since I received their critiques, I’ve had a lot of extra shifts at work; I was away last weekend and also this coming one; and then another heap of extra shifts after that. It might be October until I get into them properly.

Moments beta comments

These are the merged comments, with all their agreements and conflicts. Doesn’t it look awful? You send off something you think is perfect, and get this back. Then you read them, and find yourself nodding and sighing and wondering how the heck you thought you were ready to send it in the first place.

I’d hoped to have this book ready to query in November, a year after writing the original idea during NaNoWriMo last year, but – as the title of this post suggests  – that probably won’t happen.

But that’s okay. Two years is still far shorter than my previous attempts at a novel 🙂

So, how are you?

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Finished!

I’ve done it! I’ve finished my final draft, and sent off copies to some awesome beta readers!

Ahem, it can be a roller coaster of emotion…

This final draft came in at 47,500 words, and took 38 days. In total, this whole novel has taken 6 months and 1 day to get to this stage – the quickest I have ever written a complete novel (and yes, I’m officially stating that 47.5k is novel length… if you want to disagree, make sure you have tissues!)

I shall now be:

  • Eating chocolate
  • Actually dusting stuff before I vacuum
  • Reading
  • Eating cake
  • Walking
  • Enjoying time with my kids… or at least watching them leave the house with a cheery ‘See ya’
  • Sitting in beer gardens while ‘socialising’ the dog
  • Hopefully writing some short stories and submitting them to competitions and journals.

Do you like how the writing stuff comes last? It’s actually my main plan – I’ve already got my new notebook ready – but I can write while eating chocolate, drinking cider and people-watching in coffee shops!

What are you up to over the summer? 

Red edit hiccup

I’m still in the red edit zone, so no completed chart just yet. Instead I have these:

Yes, I’m making the grievous error of not just a prologue, or epilogue, but both!

But, let’s gloss over that for now.

My red edits have gone really well, and I technically finished them last night, after a full-on day of reading my own words, cringing, and occasionally being wow-ed.  In fact, there are several pages which don’t even have any edits on them at all!

I added reason and sense to some of the plot points that were somewhat lacking, and a bit of emotion where I’d forgotten to show it. I cut a lot of useless stuff, including a whole character (RIP MC’s boyfriend, but he was kind of pointless, and ended the relationship in the same chapter he was introduced).

Despite all the cutting – some days, I hovered around the exact same number, even though I was writing furiously – I added 2261 words to the story, which means it now stands at just over 40,000! Still too short for a novel, but on my way. By adding four more chapters, I should easily make that up to 45,000.

I swapped around some of the early chapters, but I’m still not completely happy. The opening feels sluggish and dull – but I think it’s necessary to set the scene. Due to the nature of the story, I can’t use flashbacks (which I usually love, so this is hard for me). Perhaps, when I get to the beta reader stage, fresh eyes will be able to point out the problems.

Big question: Prologues and epilogues, love them or hate them?