It’s an (exploratory) draft!

I didn’t so much reach the end of the draft as run out of words. As often happens with exploratory drafts. But then, landing the ending is often one of the very last things I do, so I won’t worry too much about that yet.

The shape of the first 2/3 or maybe even 3/4 feels more or less right. Not sure I know what the book is actually about yet though. (Second or third draft.) Or what words go into it (fourth or fifth draft.)

The next couple weeks are for thinking about that. Also for doing some much needed research.

Also for catching up on email and on all my invisible offline life.

Dear Secondary Character,

You’re supposed to be a raven. Why aren’t you acting like a raven?

You’d almost think you were this Other Thing instead. Which you might be, except … well, if you change your mind, everyone else will want to, too.

Did you ever think about that?


Turns out I was pretty close, with my 75K estimate.

74962 / 74962 words. 100% done!

“Long as I remember /the rain been coming down /clouds of mystery pouring /confusion on the ground”

janni: At 15,000 words I’m thinking maybe the plot will show up sometime soon?
lnhammer: Last book you were saying that at 35,000 words.
janni: Oh, right. (pause) More like 40,000, actually.

It’s true, too. The first 40,000 exploratory draft words of Faerie After pretty much became … chapter 1.

@Secondary_Character: Either you are really, really stupid, or you’re really, really smart and encouraging my Protagonist to be really, really stupid. It’s remarkably hard to tell.

@All_Characters: Okay, I know at least one, and probably more, of you are not human. (waits) But you’re not going to tell me which of you it is, are you?

@Plot: Any time now would be fine. Just saying.

17000 / 50000 words. 34% done!

Things to remember at the start of a new book’s first draft

1. Remember the last book you wrote? In that book’s first draft, it took you 40,000 words to get to the point where the final draft’s first chapter ends.

2. Remember the book before that? It’s first draft was the entirely wrong story, set in the wrong season in the wrong town with the wrong characters, and only thematic and worldbuilding threads carrying through to the next draft.

3. And in the one before that, you only kept the prologue and the setting and the raven and the shapeshifting bear. Also the protagonist, but only sort of. There weren’t even any arctic foxes yet!

4. Embrace the rambling. Embrace the rambling. Embrace the rambling.

5. Go!

From today’s drafting

“As the scene around us faded a voice whispered, ‘None of this has really happened save in a thematic sense. But steal freely from it as you require.'”

In other words: Let’s pretend that chapter never happened, except when we don’t.

This draft really is being … more meta than most, even for me. And I may be learning things about going around, rather than pushing through, the things that don’t work in exploratory drafts.

Am very curious how this will affect later drafts–not to mention the final book.