Thus concludes the novel

Thus concludes the novel

First draft of my latest novel is complete, and it’s been a long time coming. Started writing this novel at the very end of 2006, and for various and sundry reasons it took me a lot longer than usual to finish it. On average, I’d finish a novel every year or two (even monster novels like this current one), but this one was a challenge, partly because it is the most complex work I’ve written.

Of course, there’s still some work that needs done before I can foist it upon my alpha readers. For example, as I write I tend to keep track of things that I want to fix as I go along, stuff like deciding a term or concept I created in the first few chapters doesn’t really work as the story goes along, realizing I need to add a small reference to something in earlier chapters, or other various continuity fixes that would make the story less confusing for my first batch of test readers. This takes some time, but it’s not nearly as arduous a process since I’ve done this many times before and I have a checklist to work through.

Another thing I still need to do: At the beginning of each chapter is a little snippet—a proverb, a “scripture” passage, or a pithy saying—that relates to the chapter in some way and serves as a way to highlight the differences between the forces at work. I’ve written probably a full third of them, but the creative momentum often dictated I skip them and leave a placeholder so I could come back to them later. Likewise with chapter titles. For some reason, I’ve always named my chapters. It’s not always common practice within the genre, but I feel it adds another level of depth, as even a title can show an insight into the mind of a given character.

Lastly, I still need a good title. My working title was from ages ago, long before I really even knew what the book was going to be about, and things have changed a lot since then. Coming up with a good title is much more difficult than one might think.

But at least the novel’s done. I’ve deposited the lump of coal, and now all it needs some time and pressure.

4 Replies to “Thus concludes the novel”

  1. It took me two years to finish my last manuscript. Should it have gone quicker? Yes. Have I sold it yet? No. Does that mean I have no business trying to be a professional writer?Just get the novel done at the pace it calls for. If your goal is the end of the year, great. If you don’t make that goal, then don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes novels at least, the good ones aren’t just farted out in a fit of verbal diarrhea.I started another novel last December. I’d hoped to have it done by now, but I’m only at about 46K. So what. It’ll get done when it gets done.

    1. It honestly doesn’t matter how long writing a novel takes, so long as it gets finished. Finishing is key. You can’t shop around a half-completed novel.

      The main reason this novel took me longer to write than I’d expected was threefold.

      Reason Number One: For a period of about two years, I stopped writing entirely. I stopped submitting queries to agents and stopped sending stories to magazines. And then I picked up a really good book that was reminiscent of my writing style. “I can do this,” I told myself. And then I started attacking this already-started novel with a vengeance.

      Reason Number Two: As they say, the tale grew long in the telling. What I’d initially envisioned as a standard-length novel grew in complexity as I went. Complexity boils down to manuscript length, and length distills down into writing time.

      Reason Number Three: During the writing of this novel, I went back to writing short stories to see if I could get any traction there. After selling my first story, I continued writing stories for this market rather than working on the novel. After about three or four sales, I decided to start writing a chapter of the novel in between each short story. In January 2012, I decided to focus on the novel since I was about three-fourths of the way done. I probably would have finished earlier, but I had to balance novel writing with all of the other freelance projects I was working on.

    2. I was wondering if you ever coirdnesed changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

      1. This site is currently a work in progress. It started out as just a place to hang my freelancing portfolio for potential clients to see, but it’s a bit more than that now. A layout redesign is definitely on the to-do list.

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