As National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, for short) draws to a close, I find myself thinking about the current state of my manuscript and where that state is in regards to my goal of publication.
You may (or may not) have seen my announcement earlier this year that the rough draft was complete. As many who know me well can attest, this is the second (or maybe third) rough draft I’ve completed on this novel. It will be the first book of a 10-book epic fantasy series, and on further consideration, perhaps I should’ve called it the second draft.
You see, I completed a 258-page manuscript for this novel back in 2013, and a good friend whose opinion I greatly respect gave me some phenomenal feedback in July of that year. It then took me two years and change to turn that feedback into a draft (I’m still working on the whole ‘disciplined writer’ thing), which led to my statement that it might be more properly called a second draft.
I’ve completed various versions of this story ever since I started writing (including a 408-pager somewhere between 2006 – 2010), and I’d like to think each version is better in some way, shape, or form than the last. Matter of fact, once I complete the revisions on this manuscript, it will be version that goes to an editor and (eventually) publication.
I also like to keep all of my writing, as much as possible. Except for sudden power outages and an accidentally-formatted hard drive, I’m pretty sure I have almost everything I’ve ever written. Whenever I’m experiencing a low point in which I question the quality of my writing in general, I like to re-read some of my earliest stories, which are so awful they should only be handled with latex gloves or a pooper-scooper. It doesn’t take long for me to appreciate how much I have learned.
In regards to the novel, I have worked my way through Chapters 1 – 6 so far, and the current focus of my revision is characterization. Between cardboard-cut-out non-entities that are only there because I need them in Book 2 and a protagonist who unintentionally turned out to be a psychopath, I think it’s safe to say characterization is my weakest skill. Improving one’s craft is never easy, and if it ever feels easy, something is probably wrong.
I have a work project I have to finish up this week, but otherwise, I hope to have revisions completed by the end of December. My original goal was the end of November, but I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed. 🙂