Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Stats of a Novel’s First Draft

I’m done. Finally. I completed the first draft of my 4th novel on July 3, 2008, at 9:55 p.m. It took:

6 months to write—2 months of planning and false starts, and 4 months to write the actual first draft.

11 pages of planning and plotting and re-plotting (at least 5 different plot outlines were created), most of which was thrown out during the writing.

2 false starts, totaling 42 handwritten pages (I handwrite my first drafts—I seem to think better with a pen in hand.) Only 10-14 of those pages were useable.

167 handwritten pages on college-ruled notebook paper, usually covering the sheets edge to edge. And that number doesn’t include chapters 1 and 2, which were pulled from the false starts.

27 chapter breaks, with at least 2 major plot holes that will require I write several new chapters during the first revision.

22 margin notes for plot lines, additions, subtractions, and dialogue I don’t want to forget in later revisions.

2 daily alternating colors of ink—black and red—showing the average day’s work of 2-3 pages.

1 character u-turn and 1 villainous plot twist (who says authors control their characters?) that completely destroyed any plotting I attempted.

More impromptu brainstorms than I can remember, much less count, both alone and with others.

One pesky niece (“How’s [insert character’s name]?”), an annoyingly persistent critique friend (You want the next chapter by when?!), and a patient but pushy dad (how’s that for an oxymoron?) who all insisted—no, demanded I finish this crazy story that I didn’t want to write.

No wonder I wrote this draft in record time. Can I stop now?

I didn’t think so. Onward to revision.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A pesky niece. Who me? Never!! By the way how is the whole character gang? ;)