It has been nearly a week since I reached the end of my first full draft of the novel I am working on and it never really hit me. I never really felt any particular way about it. I could reanalyze why that’s the case, since I have been thinking about it in my spare time and there’s probably some work I should do about addressing the fact that writing 100,000+ words doesn’t feel like an accomplishment anymore since I once did 100k words in a single month, but I don’t think it’s terribly productive. I think it’s okay if I don’t feel any particular which way about it, since I have clear next steps and goals still to pursue, and I’d rather focus my energy on that than on making myself feel something.
In the time since I finished, I took a short break to think about the project. Spent some time sort of reconceptualizing it, making sure I had a clear idea in my head about what I wanted the story to be, and then wrote that down. I’ve made half a dozen additional documents to use in tracking things since I can access google docs anywhere but I still can only use Scrivener on my home PC (and I am say “use” lightly since I still have no idea what I’m doing and am very bothered by how it looks).
I’m pulling out things like descriptions of entities, spaces, and people so I can make sure they’re consistent across the board. Bits of a flashback are being pulled out and put in another document so I can make sure the flashback runs smoothly from piece to piece without losing anything between the places it is inserted into the story. Then I’ve got another document for the outline I’m putting together during my review so I can make sure things happen in the right order, nothing gets accidentally forgotten, and that the pacing is fluid.
I’ve got a few other documents for definitions, words I’ve inventing, the magic system, and a list of phrases and words that need to be used specific ways, plus another list of words to never use (which is mostly just a safety check since I do my best to avoid sexist language in my day-to-day life and it is always good to have a box to check as a precaution). There’s probably more stuff I’ll need to pull out or keep track of, but this is what I’ve got so far.
I’ve made a copy of my main writing document so I can edit, remove, and change stuff without losing anything, but I do wish I could create and hide layers or groupings of text as I write. I’d love to be able to tag dialogue by the person saying it so I can hide everything else and make sure each character’s voice is consistent. There’s a lot of space between the scenes some characters show up and I know at least two of them shift around (in characterization) during the initial draft.
I have my work cut out for me, of course, and I do feel excited about trying to punch this up, but I am also struggling to pace my work properly. This is so different from normal word production efforts that I need new metrics to measure the time and energy costs to myself. I’m re-learning what a reasonable expectation for a day’s work on this project it, and I’ve already tripped up a few times. I’m sure it’ll get easier in time, but for now I’m just making sure to word all my daily to-do list items in very broad terms so I don’t have to wonder if I earned the right to check this box.
As always, the work continues and I’m going to get back to it. I might share some stuff from the novel here, if I find anything particularly interesting or fun to post, but I wouldn’t count on it. Writing something for consumption on a blog is very different from writing something for a novel format, so it would take work to make it fit here and I’m already giving myself enough to do.