Episode 36 of the first draft of my novel (available elsewhere on the site) was fun and easy to write. The one problem I had while writing 36 was deciding how evil the King should be, and what would happen when Jadri and Paulos confronted him. I've considered some fairly extreme options, but since I haven't yet decided what the evil forces in the story can do and how powerful they are I settled for something relatively benign that would leave all options open. I may change it in the next draft when I know more.

Episode 37 was difficult to write. I started out with several drafts that all contained the following elements in various permutations:

And every single version that I wrote just sat there on the page, stubbornly refusing to come to life. Things got better when I caught the overall mood that the piece would have - the lull before the storm, people sitting around enjoying the peace and quiet, knowing that soon they'll have to embark on a journey from which there will be no turning back. For some reason the way the characters are growing comfortable with eachother turned out to be another vital element that needed to be included. I'm not sure I've managed to convey either, but for the moment what I've written is the best I can do.

Where do I go from here?

I've now written a little over 22,000 words of what was planned to be a 50,000 word novel. I've come to realise that, the way the story is developing now and with the current pace and level of detail, I'm heading for something with a total length of 100,000 - 150,000 words. For a beginning writer tackling something of this length is probably not a good idea. Also, no publisher is going to be interested in a novel of this length by a completely unknown author, but I'll worry about that later. On the plus side, I'm still enjoying myself and I'm confident that I can actually finish the damn thing. Also, editing may bring the next draft down to a more manageable and sellable lengh.

I do feel that I'm getting nearer to a natural break in the story. The stage has been set, the characters assembled, and one or several quests are about to begin. To me the whole thing has a "the end of the beginning" kind of feel to it.

Breaking up the story into four to six 25,000 word chunks would make it more manageable. It would also enable me to do a second draft (probably in Dutch, which is my first language) of the first sections and then maybe get an editor to give me a second opinion, while continuing to work on the first draft of the later sections.


This article was written after writing episode 37 of the first draft of my novel After the War.
After the War (37)

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