I finished the first draft of my first novel back in mid-September, and then decided to let it sit for a few months, allowing me to get some distance from it while I worked on some short fiction. I had in mind getting 4 shorter stories written before returning to the novel in December. In December, I’d start reading the novel, and once read, I’d begin on the second draft.
I haven’t said much about it lately so for anyone wondering where things stand, here’s the scoop:
I completed 3 stories between mid-September and December 1. One of those stories has already been sold. I am waiting for word on a second potential sale. If all goes well, I’ve have the news by early next month.
I started on a fourth story, a piece that was longer than the other three, and one that has given me a little more trouble, because the story is more complex. I hadn’t finished that story yet when December 1 rolled around. Nevertheless, on December 1, I began re-reading the first draft of my novel.
I manage to read the first 100 pages or so, before realizing that I could not juggle both the re-reading of the novel and the writing of the new story at the same time. There were two problems:
- Time. If I was re-read the novel, I was using the time that would otherwise be used for writing my story. And if I was working on the story, I wasn’t re-reading the novel.
- I have learned, through trial-and-error, that I cannot work on two pieces of fiction at the same time. I just can’t. Story-lines merge, characters become confused, and I can’t sink deep enough into either story to tell an effective tale. The same was true here.
I really like the story that I am currently working on, the fourth in the batch of stories written between novel drafts, despite (or perhaps even because of) the fact that it has given me so much trouble. I haven’t written a novelette in a while, and I think I have a particularly good story to tell.
I decided, therefore, that I’d finish this story before starting on the second draft of the novel. And by finishing the story, I mean going through all of the necessary drafts to put it into final submission form.
So, what does that mean for getting started on the second draft of the novel? More than likely, it pushes the start date back to sometime in January. Once I have the first draft of this most recent story down, I expect the second draft to go much more quickly. And my deadlines for the novel were arbitrary. My goal was to have the second draft completed by the end of March, and even with a push back to January, I think that is still manageable. And if I go over my deadline some, that’s okay, if it means I am producing a better story–in both cases.
For folks following along on this novel-writing journey of mine, rest-assured that I will post when I get restarted again in earnest. Right now, however, I’m trying to focus all of my fiction-writing attention on getting this novelette written, because I think it has the potential to be a really fantastic story.
And if anyone is wondering, my working title for the novelette is “Strays.”