I recently hit 100k on my current novel WIP and also passed the 2 year mark for how long I’ve been working on it, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to talk a bit about it. (As I write this, I’m really tired/worn out, so be prepared for a somewhat dry entry, but here goes?)
Before I talk about the novel WIP, I should say – if you’re curious about when Persinette‘s sequel Fairer will be ready, I’ve been holding off on touching its second draft until this novel’s rough draft is done. Whether or not that’s entirely a smart idea I’m not sure, but I’d really really like to finish the rest of this novel draft in one go then use Fairer‘s second draft as a break between novel revisions. The two stories also complement each other thematically in a way that pleases me, so if I can release them more or less together, that’d be cool.
Okay, now to talk about this novel WIP journey.
2015 was a rough year for me, so starting a new novel in January, beginning its draft in April for Camp NaNoWriMo and completing its first chapter (among other things) was super comforting. I kept moving forward in the story over the course of that summer but eventually had to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t know the protagonists nearly well enough yet to feel comfortable continuing. At the point I stopped, I think I’d written something like 5 or 6 chapters (I write long chapters, so between 50-60k?) before I realized I’d taken the story on a path that just…did not feel right at all and I didn’t have the equipment to fix it. (Generally when I work well in a story, it’s because I’ve known the characters for longer than a few months.) So I wrote a few more side/prequel short stories, exploring the characters, the world, and the…flavor–for a lack of a better way to put it–in more depth.
I was more or less successful with these? The short stories took a lot longer to “get right” than I’d been expecting, and I sought a lot of help with one of the stories in particular. I have no idea how effective or appealing they are as short stories since I’ve gone over them a bajillion times, but writing them accomplished what I set out to do, at least. I know the characters a lot better now than I did at the start.
Midway through 2016, I paused in my efforts on figuring things out to move States. I also took a break from frustrating short stories/novel to translate a few folktales, finish the translation rough draft of Fairer and dabble in a paranormal murder mystery for a while before I eventually got stuck on that too (haha >.>).
But! Getting stuck again forced me to reevaluate my priorities. I decided that I really really wanted to see what I could accomplish with this novel project, if I could pull it off, etc, now that I knew the characters better. So, after reevaluating, I ditched almost half of what I’d previously written and restarted there from scratch.
I’m now in the midst of drafting a whole new section of the story, carving a path through barely-charted territory. I just used this year’s April Camp NaNoWriMo to help me add another 10k to the draft even through the midst of some really difficult personal-life things. Ironically, this most recent chapter went the wrong direction again, but I caught it early! So I ditched what I had, let the problem simmer, spent a day picking apart what went wrong and brainstorming fixes, and I’m about to dive in to start its replacement.
I’m not going to predict how long it will take me to finish this novel’s rough draft. I don’t want to set anyone’s expectations, especially my own, especially since working on it isn’t my top priority in my day-to-day life. My healing journey comes first, and this is just an appendage to that. But the cool thing is that even though I’m slow enough to be writing only about 150k or so in two years at this pace, it took me four years to complete my 44k novella, so this is a vast improvement in my story-construction pace and really encouraging to me. It’s not nearly the speed I wish I could go, but it’s still encouraging.
The one prediction I feel I can make at this juncture, however, is that even though 100k is a traditional novel’s length or longer–um. Well. I have a feeling this story is going to be at least ~200k. I’m currently rereading the Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Höst which is nominally three books but in my head is one book just split into three convenient parts, especially since I bought them lumped together in an omnibus. (350k in total? Something like that). And I adored reading 400k-a-pop monstrosities as a teen. I love detail and exploration and character and sinking my teeth into story. Sooooo, yes. We’ll see what this draft produces. >.>
I do intend on coming back to the paranormal murder mystery eventually. That one I predict will be much shorter than this WIP, too, and might make for a conveniently-sized palate cleanser or dessert.
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Updates will remain sporadic for the foreseeable future. But rest assured that my silence means I’m focusing my creative efforts on becoming healthy and crafting good stories. I haven’t disappeared. 🙂