If I learned anything from the agonizing months spent editing Courting the Moon, it’s that by the end of it you’ll have tossed out pretty much everything from the original draft (or two…) and have essentially started over from scratch. And it seems that I have to do the same thing with my YA fantasy novel Faylinn… only much earlier in the process.
Oh my gosh, I am so excited that I don’t know where to begin. I guess the title of this entry says it all: I’ve actually completed a draft of a novel! Yep, All’s Fair (AFiLaW) is the first one. While I’ve spent a lot of time working on Ravens and Roses and have called each stage its own “Draft,” that story is still missing pieces of it and therefore should probably not be titled as such. But that’s just splitting semantic hairs, so moving on!
I hammered out the plot and characters for All’s Fair in October 2015 and started writing on November 1, 2015. As of January 31, 2016, I have a complete story ready for beta reading. Wow. That’s 170 pages written in 92 days. There aren’t any gaping holes that need to be filled in or scenes that haven’t been written. Obviously things may be adjusted, dropped, or added during the editing process, but you can actually read it from beginning to end. I’m still a little stunned at this; the only other complete novel-length stories that I have finished are fan fiction. (Yes, I know, I need to get back to “Nakishojo.”) And those took me years to complete! The fastest I’ve ever written was for the Dark Crystal Author Quest back in 2013, which took three months, but was still not really complete. Not like All’s Fair.
Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel like I’m imposing whenever I ask someone to read my work. Of course, I’ve heard that a lot of writers are hesitant to show their work to someone else, especially when it’s still just a first or second draft. After all, your novel is your baby; you’ve been working on it for months, if not years, and the last thing you want to hear is someone say that it sucks. Working up the courage to allow someone to read what you’ve written is hard enough. But then there’s this added weight of the guilt of imposition.
Whenever I finally make a decision to show someone my work, to ask for their opinion of it, I always feel like I should crawl up to them on my knees, smeared with ash and dressed in sackcloth, manuscript in hand and beg in the most deferential voice I can muster, “Would you please…if it’s not too much trouble, because I know your time is valuable and you probably have a million other things you’d rather be doing but….could you please, please read this and tell me what you think?”