Hello all! Here’s my first Where I’m At post where I’ll be discussing where about in the writing process I am. As this is the first post from an unpublished writer, I will talk freely into the void.
For anyone reading, my name’s Kara. I am working on a high fantasy novel set in a world I built myself. My world is inspired by the ancient worlds of Egypt and Rome and follows the story of gods and kings fighting for dominance and the right to use magic.
Here’s where I’m at:
Currently, I am still working on the first draft. I’m at a point where I’m unsure where to finish the first book in what will be a series. I’ve possibly reached the point where I’ll end it, but for now I will continue to plough through the first draft.
It’s been a long, hard process with many setbacks in the form of writer’s block and unfortunate personal circumstances that have made this go on longer than it should have.
This technically wouldn’t be the first novel I’ve attempted. I had a few attempts over the years, since I was about 13 maybe. The recurring theme is that I either can’t finish the stories or I do but they’re way too short to be considered a novel.
It’s like I run out of things to say and I get bored. That’s usually a good sign that the reader would be bored too so I like to think of those attempts as lessons rather than failures.
Moving into fantasy
In the past I’ve tried my hand at crime novels, thrillers, horror and historical fiction. When I started fantasy, it was like a revelation of freedom. This is my world, I have full control over it, which is handy for control freaks like me.
This is the longest I’ve ever worked on a novel, and it’s the most I’ve ever written. I’m at around 120,000 words and I know when I edit I’m going to have to add a lot of new work to make the story whole so that number will be bigger soon enough.
I’ll admit it. Right now, I am fully aware that my story makes no sense whatsoever. The timeline is all over the place, there’s a weird structure going on. So the first thing I will do when I edit is restructure the whole thing in its entirety. I will then fill in the gaps and rework the plots holes I’ve driven myself into.
I started with a plan but along the way I had new ideas and new characters I wanted in there, so I need to accommodate everything that’s changed since my original plan.
I’m both looking forward to the editing process and dreading the hell out of it. What if it turns out the whole thing is not worth salvaging? What if this has been a waste of time? That’s the beauty of editing I guess, you can polish the turd that is your first draft. Let’s face it, all first drafts are awful but that’s why they should never see the light of day.
“The first draft of anything is shit” – Ernest Hemingway
Getting through the first draft
I’ve found the above quote has become a bit of a mantra for me, and has been for many writers. It’s useful knowing that first drafts are terrible and they’re allowed to be.
A lot of us can feel deflated as well as inspired when we read fantastic books. However, we only ever see polished work that has gone through tons of agents, editors, publishing houses and beta readers. How these books start is absolutely nothing like the finished product.
So I have allowed myself to write badly. I haven’t properly re-read my work because I know I’ll fall into a wallowing pit of am I even a writer despair and leave it in a draw somewhere to gather dust.
At the point I’m at now, I like to think I’ve come too far to let that happen. I’ve put too much work into it. I have to do something with it. But the fear is always there and will be until I start editing.
Well there you have it. There’s my first ‘Where I’m At’ post. I aim to do one every few months or so, unless nothing changes or I can’t use my hands anymore to type.
See you (hopefully) in a few months time! In the meantime, check out my upcoming posts on world building and fantasy writing.
Where are you at in your novel? Have you got round to editing yet?