Today I hit my novel completion goal of 80k words. On February 6th of this year, I thought I had finished my first draft only to find that I was about 30,000 words below the industry standard for Historical Fiction and only slightly larger than a novella. Around this time, I started tweeting profusely and found a critique partner thanks to #WritingCommunity. She and I began critiquing in 50-page increments and are soon to begin our 4th round of critiques.
What I found when her critiques began to trickle in is that my characters needed LOADS more development. The book was a skeleton in need of meat and flesh to make it whole. I determined to fill in these gaps with meaningful world, character, and relationship building so I set myself a goal of 30,000 additional words by the end of May. Today over a month early and thanks to the helpful critiques from my partner I have exceeded that goal.
NaNoWriMo.org was an invaluable tool that helped to keep me accountable. As a person who loves to-do lists and crossing off completed tasks, each time I updated (sometimes several times a day) I was rewarded with the endorphin boosting updated completion date. On extra productive days, my estimated completion date would jump forward days or weeks earlier, providing me even more motivation to keep up the hard work.
Today I am in the editing trenches, fixing point-of-view issues and rereading for the thousandth time the words that I have committed to paper. I have learned so much about my characters, their reactions, lives, and expectations and have found within them relatable flaws and strengths.
Now I have to ask myself… Am I done? The short answer is no, not even close but I can officially say I have completed at least 2 drafts of this book and it is now in the hands of not one but two Alpha readers and a very capable critique partner. If I had to guess I’d say I might add another 10,000 words during the revision process.
What comes next, you might ask? The querying process. The real deal. The terrifying and equally as exciting task of sending my book baby out into the world. For now, I await Alpha reader responses and read my story again, to fall deeper in love with William and Mary Campbell.