last night, at around 10 p.m., I printed out part iii of my novel. it’s drafted. it clocked in at about 68,000 words, which makes it the longest story i’ve ever written (I nano’ed for years, but always stopped at or just after 50,000).
it has some significant issues i’ll need to fix, like at one point I have my characters showing up at a place that in fact, had not been built yet (built that year, but not that month). my ending has issues too…it’s a little too convenient.
but these can be changed (and will be changed). and at about 20,000 words for part iii, I have some wiggle room to expand which is nice, because there is description to add (my rough drafts never have enough).
I will go back to working on revising part I while part iii chills in a pile on my desk. I still have about 15,000 words in part I that are in third-person pov, and I need to change them to first. that’s more than just a find and replace, in case you’re curious. it’s a complete rewrite of most sections.
i’ll stick with this for about a week, and then dive back in to part iii. after one round of heavy revision, i’ll let it sit again while I sink my teeth into the feedback I will receive for part ii (which of course i’ll read once the moment I receive it, but I always like to give feedback more than one read-through).
I will revisit part iii for a second time, addressing micro-level concerns like line edits. then i’ll proofread it and send it off for my April 2 deadline.
final thoughts on my rough draft
I still feel strongly that making the switch to first-person pov was the right move. so too was the switch to shorter “chapters.” they’re numbered for now, so that my mentor and I can speak about them as entities without having to list ranges of page numbers.
I think ultimately, I won’t number them; they will just start on a new page. some of them are quite short, blurbs or quick insights into what’s going through my protagonist’s head. I think in those cases, a chapter heading can be quite disruptive to the flow. i’ve read books that treat this issue both ways, and I like the non-numbered “chapters” better because it’s more seamless and therefore I didn’t put the book down as often.
As I revise over the next ten weeks or so, I will also be doing more research. But I still think I will have to do even more over the summer and run through a historical accuracy draft. Not that I can’t fictionalize a little, but it’s always good to make sure places are built before your characters arrive.
finally, i’m going to have to do some more character development in the coming weeks. I had some characters show up in this draft who I didn’t plan for and they feel underdeveloped. I also had a round character who flattened as the draft went on, so I will have to go back and make him round again.
i’m sure after reading my mentor’s feedback, I will have more changes I want to make, but these are just my own assessments of where I need to take this story next.