While I've completed short stories and flash fiction, I've never actually completed one longer piece of work...
I actually started this first draft in June 2011. But there was a big break in there while I was getting over the bus accident, so I've only been working on it intensively for the last 12-15 months.
Obviously putting the word count on my blog has kept me in line!
It's also been a learning experience. Previously, I'd tried to do too much at once with my other longer projects, so thought I'd try the general planning and skeleton 1st draft approach.
It worked for me.
I did character sheets for my main characters - but I've discovered more about them during the writing process too.
Each chapter had a general outline, so I knew where I thought incidents and important events occurred- even then I found that a few things changed order, or I needed an extra chapter here and there for scenes I hadn't foreseen, but realised I needed.
As I went along I made a note of anything I needed to research, or query for the correct term, descriptions, or form of address.
And I went through doubts about my abilities - and sanity!
Yesterday (Thursday) I finished my first draft at 29,005 words in 17 chapters.
The same day I received the answers from the official office that deals with Baronetcy's. It's taken a while because it seems everyone understood their place in the inheritance stakes in the early 19th century (when the novella is set) so my questions had to be referred up to someone else who knew the definitive answers- the Garter King of Arms.
(I may tell you about the Baronetcy system another time.)
The good news, is that I won't need to make big changes to the plot/sub-plot.
The bad news is that I have to provide my antagonist with another reason/s for what he does. But I can think of a few things that would qualify in Edward's case...
Otherwise it's minor adjustments in certain scenes.
Next I need to go through and list the research points/queries, so I have everything I need to know for the 2nd draft...
I'm going to have a short break from the novella while I get on with sending out a few short stories- they just need minor revisions, but have been waiting long enough.
Also it's the Romance Trophy competition at the writers' club this year, so I have a synopsis and first three chapters of another romance to get on with for that- the deadline is the end of June.
Now I now know what works for me:
- Writing for an hour, three hours or anything in-between for as many days as I can each week.
- Not worrying if something isn't quite right, or I don't know the answer to my query immediately.
- Listening to my characters and what's working well - and what is never going to work.
Fingers crossed for the next draft...