I finally finished writing the first draft of my fantasy novel. It was a long road, but one that I enjoyed quite a bit. I haven't written a work this long in many year. it did feel good to sit down with a long story and let it unfold.
Here are some stats for those who are interested, and for posterity.
Started prep work on August 1, 2016.
Started novel work on August 19, 2016
Completed first draft on May 9, 2017
134,016 Words in First Draft
21 Chapters with a prologue and epilogue that are both about half a page long.
There was a lull in there around December and January where I didn't work very much on the novel. I would probably have finished it in March or so if I had stuck with my schedule from NaNoWriMo. I'm curious to see if the break affected the writing at all.
I ran into my usual problem with long fiction. I started off full of enthusiasm and burned through the first third or so. After that it became a bit harder to work through. The final third was difficult because I had several action sequences. I find those very challenging to write because I am very conscious that I could be overwriting them. I usually end up just throwing down a bunch of stuff and figuring that I can work it all out in the second draft.
This novel probably had the largest number of main characters in it since my first novel. That first novel was written back in the late 90s and was filled with youthful excitement and insanity. Kind of funny to go back and read now. But I kept piling on characters, and since it was inspired by anime series of the day, some of the characters and plot lines were just bizarre and in conflict with each other.
This time I worked out backgrounds for my eight primary characters, as well as some history about the main location of the story. I think that helped to have that all fully realized before I dove in. I didn't reference my "story bible" too often, but the work spent there made it quite clear in my head.
I am a bit worried that ending might feel anticlimactic. I also think that one of my characters came across as a bit too stereotypical. I'll probably have to do some work with her on the next pass. I'm looking forward to rereading it.
But I'm going to follow Mr. King's advice and let the story sit for about a month or so. I've done this in the past and it really does help when you go back and reread it. In the meantime I think I might work on some shorter fiction. Been a long time since I tackled a short story or two. While I was working on this novel, I actually had a couple of ideas I jotted down (that always happens, and they always seem better then what you are working on at the time).
But first time to celebrate.