Sunday 6 January 2013

Progress report and plan

I'm nearly 65,000 words in to the first draft. It's been a productive first week of 2013 but I still have a long way to go. I'd naively thought that the book would be about 70,000 words long (the minimum length of a novel), but I now realise that it will be longer than that. Probably somewhere around 100,000 words or a bit more. Of course, that all depends on how the story develops, and how many words it takes to write it!
Here is my tentative plan for the next few months:

  1. Complete the first draft by Easter.
  2. Put the draft on ice for a few weeks so that I can look at it with fresh eyes.
  3. Read through the draft and mark up areas that need extra work. I'm anticipating that there will be a few bits that are lacking detail (historic and otherwise), and a bit of restructuring will be required. I already know of a few sections where I have changed my mind and need to rewrite what happens to better serve the story.
  4. Add extra content and do the rewrites.
  5. Once the second draft is ready (not really sure how long that will take - part of me thinks it will take a long time - probably a few months), I plan to send the draft manuscript off to a few friends and family as test readers. With the draft I'll send a questionnaire for the test readers to fill in. The questionnaire will aim to pinpoint where readers were bored, or confused, which characters they liked or disliked, that sort of thing.
  6. Hopefully the test readers will return the questionnaires and I'll act on their comments by honing the manuscript into a third draft.
  7. At that stage, I'll find a professional editor to edit the manuscript.
  8. Do all the rewrites the editor asks for (or argue with the editor!).
  9. The final manuscript will then be ready. I'd like to think that could be sometime towards the end of 2013, or perhaps more realistically early 2014.
  10. Publish. I'll probably self-publish as an ebook, but that is a decision I'll need to take then. If I do self-publish, I'll need to work on other things like a website, formatting, a cover design etc. But that will be for another post in the future.
So, as you can see there are lots of things to occupy my time for the next year, but first thing's first - I'd better get that draft finished.

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