December 1 is only a few weeks off, and while folks doing NaNoWriMo this year will wake up on Sunday, December 1 basking in the joy of getting their 50,000 words1, I will be getting started on the second draft of my novel. I completed the first draft of the novel (my very first novel) back in mid-September. Writing the first draft, I never went back to read what I had written. I just wrote until it was finished, working through two or three false starts, before hitting on one that worked.
I’ve discussed my general process for writing before. The first draft is for me, so that I know the story. The second draft is a complete rewrite. Now that I know the story, I tell the story to the reader in the second draft, making it as good as I can. With a short story this generally isn’t a big deal. I can complete a second draft in a week or ten days. But a novel?
My game plan looks something like this:
- December 1 – 10: Read the first draft and take lots of notes.
- December 11-13: Collate the notes organize them for the second draft.
- December 14: Begin writing the second draft.
- March 31: Second draft is complete.
I am aiming to finish the second draft of the novel by the end of March. That gives me about 105 days or so. Given that the first draft was 95,000 words, it amounts to getting through an average of 900 words/day. This seems reasonable, since for the last 258 days, I’ve averages nearly 900 words/day.
The main difference will be my commitment to keeping to this schedule. Basically, it means that until I reach my 900 words each day, don’t expect to see me online. Any blog posts and tweets you see before I complete my 900 words are pre-scheduled. I’ve been testing this schedule out over the last couple of weeks and while I haven’t always stuck to my plan to stay off the Internet until my writing is done, I’ve done pretty good. I expect to do better beginning December 1.
I’ll post updates along the way, although I will try not to inundate you with them. Maybe one every two weeks. We’ll see.
I’ve been working on several short stories and articles between draft of the novel. I’ve sold one of these stories (details to come when the contracts are signed), have another out on submissions, a third nearly complete in the first draft, and a fourth just underway in the first draft. I also have an article that I am working on and hope to submit in the next two weeks or so. In theory, I’ll have four stories/articles out on submission by the time I return to the novel.
And for those wondering, as of today, I have written for 113 consecutive days. I’ve written on 256 out of the last 258 days, and I’ve written a total of 230,000 words since February 27, not counting blogging2. At my current pace, I should break a quarter of a million words by year’s end.