88,000 words

So, here it is. At last. The first draft of New Perceptions.

This jpeg of colourful squares is the breakdown of a story that’s taken me about six months longer to complete than I thought it would. Honestly, I had planned to have the first draft completed back in February. February! But the second half of this story just did not want to be written. Act 1 was easy. The whole thing appeared in my head and just needed to wait for me to get it down on paper. But about half way through Act 2 the wall just came down. I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a story where it’s been so hard to put together the plot. I had the Opening and the start of the Middle, and I knew how the Ending would go. I just couldn’t see how to get there.

And so followed six months of slowly creeping forward, one paragraph at a time. Hammering my head against a brick wall until eventually, enough fell away for me to get through.

Writing is a job that may not involve any heavy lifting, but like Hell is it easy.

Hense this lovely colourful diagram. What you can see there is a breakdown of scenes, colour-coded by plotline, and above that is a similarly colour-coded breakdown of the themes and their pos/neg charges. Traditionally this kind of thing is done with Post-It Notes. However, I find that walls covered with Post-It Notes are hard to carry around with you, so I used a flow-chart programme on my iPad.

And it helped. Kind of. It allowed me to get an idea of where the story was heading, and arrange my ideas in a way I could see them all and put them in place as things came together. Honestly, I think it will help more with planning revisions and future drafts than it did while creating the story.

Now I have a little over 88,000 words to play with. I’m happy with this number. I know I’ll likely lose a lot of extraneous description in my next draft, but there’s also plenty where I wanted to develop ideas further, which will bump that word count up again. I’m thinking it’ll likely be between 80,000 and 85,000 by the time I’m done. And then my alpha readers to mark up swathes more to remove, I’m sure.

New Perceptions is, of course, a working title. Who knows what I’ll end up calling it. I have a tendency of growing accustomed to my working titles as I work, but I know this title doesn’t quite fit the story. But that’s a task for a much later draft.

So now I’m on to my second draft, polishing up the obvious errors and the glaring gaps I left while dumping this thing onto the page. There are still numerous sections where I have left in place holder that simply describe what I want to happen. Basically, I’m making it good enough to show to my initial readers for the first round of story notes.

So hopefully as I start giving it out and waiting for notes I’ll be able to spend a little more time on here. I’ve had a few ideas for blog posts and short stories cluttering up my head for a while. Maybe I’ll finally get them out of there and onto here.

Or not. There’s a lot going on in life at the moment. But writing has to take priority, so like it or not, they’ll hopefully be a little more of me around for the second half of the year.

Anyway, back to Scrivener with me. Let’s hope the second draft is a smoother process than the first.

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