Over two years and 94,000 words since I started working on my novel, I finally have a complete first draft. That’s 325 pages, an extra hundred if set in Courier font like you’re supposed to. I typed “The End” yesterday, not so much with triumph but with resignation. The story had gone everywhere it could possibly go, the characters had reached a point of peace, satisfaction, and the adventure was over.
This was a long process, probably longer than it should have been. Had I known the ending when I started, I would’ve had an easier time reaching it instead of just releasing the characters and hoping they’d go somewhere. I’m not distant enough from the ending I just wrote to accurately judge if it fulfills the promise of the early chapters. I guess I’ll find out.
Now only to wait, until the initial turnings wind out of my brain, before the arduous task of revision.
Of course, it’s a hanging question whether any agent or publishing house will want the final manuscript when all is done. A black powder fantasy formed from equal parts history of New France and Polish folklore…probably not an easy sell. Then there’s the question of audience reception, critical response. Will the Slavic elements mean much to your average Anglophone reader? Is there still a hunger for adventure stories in the traditions of Howard Pyle and Lloyd Alexander, two major influences on this novel? And the most horrifying question of all: did I, perhaps, spend those years writing 325 pages of dreck?
Still, it’s not worth worrying about just yet. Rather, I can lay back with the firm knowledge that I’ve finally completed a story that’s weighed on my mind for so long, and that doing so has taught me a great deal about writing I otherwise wouldn’t have learned.
Thanks to everyone who followed my progress, and were interested enough in the tale to urge me on.
Finally, if the above descriptions sound like your cup of tea, and you’d like to act as a beta reader on the manuscript, try the “contact me” link above and drop me a line. Outside opinions are always welcome.