I imagined the 208,000 words and over 700 pages–printed and bound at Staples–taking me close to six months to edit by hand. By hand, I mean I edit each page with pen. I’ve been told (by you, Brian) that it allows you to be a little more personal with your story and see things you may not see on a screen. For the most part, I’ve loved it. Reading my story upon completion feels rewarding, and I always find myself getting excited when a new chapter starts, “ohhh, this is the chapter where X and X do X!!!” I honestly expected to come out of this draft being really down on my writing, but for the most part I am thrilled.
Sounds great, right? It is, but now I have three chapters left, and I find myself not wanting to finish it. Now, I never had this type of trouble with the first draft. I just slowed down to make sure the ending didn’t suck.
Just because I finish the hand edit doesn’t mean I’m done, not by a long shot. Upon completion, I’ll apply my edits to the computer and complete the second draft. I won’t even be done after that. In the third draft, I’ll need to cut about 20,000 words, make sure my maps are all correct, add a compete historical holy war in my lore, and find a way to balance my narrative and dialogue as much as possible. There will probably be another handful of drafts after that, too.
Why am I stalling? I still feel the novel won’t be even close to publication-ready for another year, so why does it all feel so sudden–so final? Any other writers get hung up finishing a draft for no reason at all? I’d love to hear your stories.
At least I have a name for the first book of the trilogy. That’s a plus.