Thanks be to God. The first draft of Princess of Fire is complete.
Right up until this afternoon I thought that I needed another chapter to complete the draft– but then I got to looking at it, and realized that I could collapse one chapter into another and, instead of needing five to six thousand more words, I could close the final gap with three thousand. It means that there are a number of continuity issues in the preceding two chapters I will need to fix, but that is distinctly a second-draft sort of issue. I pushed ahead, closed the gap, and she’s done. Excuse me while I collapse across the finish line….
It has happened to me before that, in writing a long story, I take a look at the narrative and suddenly the last few pieces fall into place, and what I thought would take several more days takes mere hours. I don’t know how it works, but sometimes that’s just the way it is.
The draft came in at 137,000 words, less than I thought, and I know I have a good deal of duplicated material I can cut at once, so the effective word count is probably about 134,000. That’s good, because, frankly, this thing’s a mess. Some sections are too thick, others too thin. I need to straighten out myriad details, many of which contradict each other, and a good deal of the pacing and location of different events needs to be adjusted. But as with all my drafts, this is normal.
Considering the revisions I know I need to make, plus the thought that I may need to add a couple of extra narrative threads (part of my original concept for the novel, which I abandoned mid-way, and which has since been worming its way back into my brain), I will probably need several more months to work my way through second draft, hard-copy edit, PDF doc review to create a punch list for errors, and then beta readers. Tentatively, I would say the end of the year may see Princess of Fire published, but, once again, I have learned to not make promises about a book that has proven to be wildly unpredictable.
But, still, this was the most important hurdle. It took fifteen months of doubt and suffering to get to this point, including moments when I was ready to drop, not just this book, but the whole business of writing, but it is done.
Te Deum laudamus.