My novel is finished
Writing a novel – a writer’s journal part 19
I DID IT!
I actually did it. I have finished writing the first draft of my novel for children. I wrote the last words this afternoon.
My target was 40,000 words which is set down as a requirement by my lecturers. (This is my thesis paper for my Master of Arts Creative Writing degree.) In the end I finished on about 39,175 words which is good. It gives me a little flexibility during the rewriting stage. I know there will be extra things I want to include in a few places. The maximum word count is a guide only anyway, but we really can’t stray too far under or over. In reality it may have been better to be over by a few thousand words; it is much easier to cut rather than add words.
Next stage: rewriting
I’m going to let it sit for a few days before getting back to it. Ideally I might be better off leaving it for a few weeks, but with a deadline of the end of November I don’t have that luxury. The next stage is to go through the whole manuscript, rewriting sentences and passages as needed. I know I have some problems with point of view in the early chapters, for example. I will also sit down with my supervising lecturer and analyse whether there needs to be any structural changes. This will inevitably lead to more rewriting.
The next crucial stage is editing. In this stage I will go back over the whole manuscript, looking at all the fine details of spelling, punctuation, word usage (is this the best word to use here?), grammar and sentence construction. It is a process I do not enjoy. I’ve been trying to get to ‘like’ this stage as an important step in the creative writing process. I don’t think I’ll ever ‘love’ it. At present I tolerate it as a necessary stage towards getting published.
The final stage is proofreading. In this stage I will check every letter, every word, every punctuation mark and make sure everything is perfect.
I have a few busy weeks ahead.
- Problems with point of view
- The importance of editing
- To err is human – to proofread is to be a good writer: seven effective proofreading hints
- Writing a novel