Milestones can are far and few in between when you’re working on a novel, especially when you don’t like talking about a thing until its done (I’m a bit superstitious that way). I am DONE – sort of! YAY!
I finally finished the first draft of The Golden Thread. Remember that one? Probably not. I started it in June of 2011, and took a eight month break in the middle of finishing the draft. The story is a Mongolian inspired historical fantasy. Umm but let’s get back to that later…
I believe the folks that say you only learn how to write the novel you are working on. This experience was entirely different from the last. I pantsed most of the way through my last novel and ended up with three unfinished novels instead of one. The last novel took two full rewrites and I didn’t want to go through that again. Not editing, but rewriting… you wouldn’t recognize the story between those drafts.
This time I outlined the entire novel scene by scene and I think it worked. There is one cohesive story. I was able to write pretty fast (minus the break). I hit my target word count on the nose, which was amazing. BUT I never want to do that again. NEVER. It was a really bad idea. I was so bored while writing it. I need a little of the magic of discovery as I go along, but I’d used up all the good stuff while I wrote that outline.
I also discovered that historical fantasy is not what I enjoy writing. All sorts of non-historical ideas kept interrupting me: What if the act of writing magical spells was really computer programming? What if reincarnation was a restart, the memory loss the result of plugging in stored data into new bodies? What if there were way more ghosts and monsters? Er… yeah.
So next time, perhaps I’ll still outline, but have a looser more high level structure, and fill in the scene by scene as I go instead of all up front.
This story needs to sit in the drawer for a while and sort out its identity problem. In the meantime, I think a week of sleep is in order. Also, chocolate.
Has your process changed as you’ve written? What are some things that have worked for you, or have you discovered, don’t?