I just finished my second novel.
Wow, my head is spinning with the excitement and I feel like I can’t catch my breath even though I’ve not run or danced or am having an asthma attack.
It’s hard to believe that what took me nearly ten years the first time around has this time taken only a smidge over two months – definitely an improvement on efficiency. I started on February 14 with the intention of entering the novel in the Vogel Awards (since changed my mind). That’s crazy fast. Admittedly, I had the idea a little over two years ago but had never tapped out anything more than a general outline and one funny bit of banter between the main characters and the occasional scribble of an idea I had from time to time. On the 14th I outlined the whole thing into scenes in Scrivener and on the 15th I started to write. Now, on the 19th of April, I have finished my first draft.
Fanta’s Story (which I’m considering calling ‘All the Stars’ or something damn close to that) is 65,000 words, but will probably end up a little longer in revision as I’ve had a few ideas and need to develop a few more things in my revision. If you’re curious and on Pintrest, I have two boards up related to this novel: ‘For All the Stars’ and ‘Clothing Research For My Latest Novel’. A bit more of a description will be coming in my next post, but I’ll leave you hanging for now for the sake of this post’s brevity.
So what’s on the-to do list now? Well I need to revise. It’s only the first draft I’ve completed and I’d be ashamed for anyone to see it yet (apart from perhaps my parents). First I’ll probably make myself read something non-fiction (after I finish ‘The Forbidden Land’ anyway), then re-read my book on revision (I have two, so I’ll probably flip a coin) then try to do the best edit I can. After that off to my loyal test readers and while they devour it, onto the next project, which is still a bit up in the air as to what it will be.
Well, now I’ve made this post its time to run spell check ;p
Yup, you read correctly: apostrophes are my nemesis. When I sit down and think, when I speak aloud the rules I have a complete grasp of when and where to use an apostrophe, but for some reason – some crazy, demented, fat finger typing reason – I can never type them in the correct spot, thus requiring I have to go back over everything I wrote and look closely at my placement of each and every little nemesis.
I try so hard to break the habit, but my problem is if I pause to think each time I type a word containing (or requiring) an apostrophe I lose the flow. Anyone who writes knows what I mean when I say ‘the flow’. It’s that fabulous stream of words that just gushes out of your fingers like water from a fireman’s hose, so fast and furious your fingers can barely keep up. It’s that moment when the creative muse curls up inside you like a cat on your lap and blesses you with idea after idea so you can just keep going all day (or at least until the baby wakes and demands attention).
When you attain the flow you do not want to halt it for something so trivial as the placement of an apostrophe, be it a key that you just didn’t press hard enough or because your brain was paying more attention to the sentence or the paragraph than the individual word.
I mean, that’s what editing is for. You look over your work for all the finger fumbles that put ‘e’ before ‘i’ because you were typing so fast one finger didn’t keep up with the others; all the places where you forgot to add punctuation; where you wrote a sentence that just kept going and going like an unending river that seriously needs a few stops somewhere in it and of course, for those tricksey little apostrophes (or whatever your individual weakness is).
Anyone who claims they never have to check over their writing is lying. I bet even Stephen King does and Neil Gaiman, or whoever your particular favourite (and prolific) author is. I refuse to believe I’m the only writer who gets so carried away with ideas that she makes a few mistakes in the first draft. That’s why they’re called first drafts, right?