I am slowly nearing the end of my as-yet unnamed work-in-progress. The end of the first draft, at least; there is much more to do. Here is a brief look at the things that are wrong with it:
- The subplots are woefully underdeveloped: my serial killer thread needs putting in earlier whilst my Breton court intrigue thread basically needs to be written from scratch
- Breton court intrigue means introducing a new POV character, which will be fun
- Writing over a long period like I’ve had to do, what with interruptions and the like, chances are the novel is totally dislocated and misjointed. A general smoothing out is needed
- And along with that, some threads (character A’s mental state, for example) might not be consistent. Has he shown remarkable improvements between scenes?
- It’s about 20,000 words too short
- Most of the words are wrong. The first draft is about getting the plot and themes down, not about finding les bon mots. The actual writing will need to be mostly rewritten
- Speaking of bon mots, there’s a significant amount of French in this novel. It needs checking to make sure I’ve not accidentally insulted the whole of the nation. Or simply embarrassed myself
- Similarly, this novel is set in Brittany. I need to check I’ve not inserted details that make no sense in this foreign milieu, or created a landscape that a French person would immediately recognise as fake. This includes descriptions of architecture and social concepts like fairs and markets and those that embody both like industrial estates
- Some ideas – like the name of the bar and the fact that there’s a stream running through the (fictitious) town – have only occurred to me late on in the process and need retrofitting into earlier parts
- Characters B and C have far too little to do. Given they’re the ones with extraordinary powers you’d think they’d be front and centre in this novel, but they’re very much background. I need to decide what to do about this
- Did I mention it’s about 20k words too short?
- It needs a name
Doubtless there’s a lot more problems than this; this is simply all I can think of off the top of my head. It’s enough to be getting on with, don’t you think?
First drafts aren’t meant to be perfect and this one certainly isn’t. I’m a long way short of where I want to be – I want to write a brilliant, compelling story and there are way too many holes in this one to be even of acceptable standard.
But I do have a framework. And hopefully some of the writing will stand up to scrutiny, serving at least as a scaffold to hang better words upon.
So there is hope. There is hope, and there is belief. I have nothing to be proud of but proud still I am: I have nearly completed a draft of a novel and that’s no small achievement.
So onwards I go! Onwards, to write the climax and the denouement – and this’ll take me months – and then it’ll be time to set the darn thing aside for a time.
Then the real work will begin as I try and fix the many problems I’ve saddled myself with.