Just a note, to note, in passing, something that happened last night. Last night I completed a first draft for Princess of Stars. The progress bar over there on the side reads “100% done”, which, over the last three years, is something I frequently despaired of ever seeing.
The breakthrough came in the first week of May, when I dumped thousands of words that were just…not…working, rethought the action of the middle third of the book, changing it essentially from a chase to a quest, and gave myself wholly over to writing while striving to ignore the ever-circling harpies of judgment. This last week I pushed on despite developing a touch of carpal tunnel, and finished at about 9:15 PM yesterday.
The whole process for this novel was far more rocky for me than usual. There were a lot of reasons for that, some of which I’m not really ready to talk about. It wasn’t just that I found this novel hard– there were times when I was ready to chuck the whole writing thing altogether, and other times when I just couldn’t get my hands to the keyboard to do anything productive. Some days it was just easier to watch YouTube videos.
By the grace of God and some hard thinking about what I was trying to do, I managed to get this first, and most essential, task done. I’ve mentioned in other posts that once I have a draft in hand, I know I have the basic problem of any novel licked. Like Aristotle’s ‘beginning, middle, end’, it sounds trite to say it, but it’s true– the most important thing you have to do when writing a story is to finish it.
Of course, having said that, there are weeks of work ahead. I tend to see all my first drafts as narrative horrors, but this one is particularly scaly and gruesome. I’m going to be a while getting everything ironed out and reconciled. But that’s a normal part of my writing process; it was the inability to get to that first draft that log-jammed me for months and months on end and caused me to doubt whether I’m cut out for the writing life.
Well, truth to tell, I still have doubts, but with this novel, the completion of the Divine Lotus series, out of the way, I can move on to other projects and test the proposition in fresh fields. Hopefully ones not filled with stuff that makes me sneeze. I hate that.
Is the story any good? Beats the crap out of me. I’ll have to rely on others to make that judgment, because mostly I can only see the flaws. But just finishing this, after so long a struggle, is a win, and a sure sign that final victory is in sight.