I began on July 13, 2014 and I finished it on August 28, 2014 and I am really proud of myself. I’ve finished nearly a dozen screenplays over the years but this is the first time I’ve finished a novel. Over the last 46 days I hand wrote the first draft of my high fantasy novel. Each time I’ve sat at the laptop and started writing nothing much happened. On a laptop it is so easy to hit the BACKSPACE key and correct yourself. I never moved forward. Two years ago, while at a Barnes & Noble I had bought a 300 page notebook with a beautiful dust jacket that reminded me of old tomes. When I bought this notebook I had said to my wife, “This book would be perfect for a fantasy novel.” Two years later it’s pages are now full. Hand writing the story forced me to keep writing without going back and make changes. This kept me moving forward.
I created the story as I wrote it and looking back now, the beginning of the story doesn’t really match how it ends. I’ve now need to start to redevelop the story, bringing the beginning in line with the end. I need to create character sheets, and plot threads as well as update chapter outlines. I want to get this material completed so that I can begin the rewrite for NaNoWriMo, this coming November. My first goal, the history of the landmass. When did the humans first arrive? Where did they first land? What are the myths and legends compared to the actual historic events? Once this history is done then I can move on to the character development. Building the character’s history will help in the development of the chapters. I’m looking forward to exploring this process.
Setting goals is key to completing this novel. When I started on July 13th I set the goal to write the full 280 pages. When I reached page 100 on the first day of August I set the goal to complete the writing before the end of August and I did it. My next goal is to have the timeline, the character sketches and the updated story outline completed before the end of September. By the end of October, the goal is to have the chapter outlines completed so that on Saturday, November 1, 2014 I will start writing the second draft of the novel.
As a final note, I was curious how many words I had written over the last 46 days. I sat down and counted the words on five different pages and determined the quick average of 188 words per page. With 280 pages written, I have written about 52,640 words in the first draft. That’s enough to successfully complete NaNoWriMo.
I hope you’re also reaching your writing goals. If not, take a day to write down your next writing goal on a piece of paper and post it on the wall over your writing station. If you find yourself sitting in front of the keyboard and not writing, then can I recommend hand writing your stories.