Wednesday 27 October 2010

Status Update

Having mentioned progress on my novel in my previous post, and finishing Chapter Ten today, it seemed like a good time to take stock. I've copy-&-pasted everything into one file (I tend to work with each chapter in a separate file, to try to make sure if any get corrupted it's merely annoying, rather than the end of the world).

Anyway, the rewrite currently weighs in at a respectable 23,000 words, spread over 82 double-spaced pages. I'm not sure if 2,500ish words per chapter is a bit on the short side. Originally the chapters were coming out at around 6,000 words - which seemed far too long. I'm hoping the shorter style suits the fact it's more of a thriller than a ponderous, philosophical musing on the human condition.

23K seems like a good chunk - it's enough to feel like the rewrite is actually happening now, it's not just something I'm tinkering about with. Having said that, it's early days yet. There's still another 60,000 words to go before I catch up with where I was before I decided to go back and switch it all to first-person. And then I can press on and write the end, which I'm starting to panic about already. There are going to be a lot of loose ends to tidy up.

The aim is to write somewhere between 90-100K in the first draft, and then trim it down by at least 10%. 85,000 words seems to be an industry-standard acceptable length for a first novel. It would be good to have the first draft finished before the end of the year. In fact, seeing as I've just written it, that is officially my goal. You're all witnesses, so now I have to do it. Thank you. I think.


Deborah Hartman said...

I congratulate in plowing through the rewrite. I finished my first draft of my novel in March and have been rewriting it since then. I too am hoping to finish the sucker by the end of the year.

Like you, I have been entering numerous writing contests. They have helped a lot in toning style and I discovered that I needed to add more of a voice. I had rewritten so much that I lost it. So now she screams.

I loved your "Featherweight" short story - very gripping. I'm sure your novel will turn out very well.

Dan Purdue said...

Hi Deborah, many thanks for visiting. I fear my plan has already been derailed, as I've managed to get virtually nothing done on the novel since I posted this. There are various reasons for this, some of them good, others just related to me losing sight of the goal. At the rate I'm going, I'll be pleased if I've added another 10,000 words before Christmas.

I agree that entering contests is a great way of developing as a writer - exploring other styles, experimenting with new themes and formats, etc. The only problem is that they eat up a lot of time and it can be a knock to your confidence if you don't get anywhere in several in a row.

Good luck with your novel, and many thanks for the compliments on Featherweight. Glad you liked it.