Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Stats of a First Draft: HopeWell

This morning I finished typing in my first draft of my newest novel, tentatively called HopeWell. (I hand-write all my first drafts.) Here’s the results:

HopeWell was 280 handwritten pages long, penned in four colors of ink: black, red, green and purple. No, there was no particular significance to the colors. I wrote with whatever was handy, occasionally changing colors intentionally to shake things up.

Those 280 pages translated into 243 computer pages, 36 chapters, and 62,600 words—with dozens of notations indicating additional scenes to write during revisions.  (My current target is somewhere around 90,000 words.)

I started HopeWell on April 3, 2013. This means that it has taken me just under four years to complete this first draft. That is an unusually long time, even for me. However, I originally started HopeWell as a “sandbox” story—something to just play with between other projects. So at the beginning, writing was very sporadic. About two-thirds of the story was written between April and December of 2016—just nine months.

HopeWell is the first novel I have written “blind,” that is, with no idea where the story was going. In fact, the first line of Hopewell reads “Novella #1,” reflecting my original intention to write the story as four, closely interconnect dystopian novellas. That intention went out the window somewhere around chapter 9. Not only is it no longer a novella collection, I'm pretty sure it doesn’t classify as dystopian either.    

HopeWell is also my first attempt at an omniscient narrator, which is one of those crazy things you are never supposed to do as a contemporary author, so of course I had try.

Finally, this draft was only made possible through the support of dozens of family members, friends, and pesky critique partners, many of whom seem to think that if I showed them one chapter, the whole novel must be written!

And that sums up the first draft. Now on to revisions...

No comments: