Well finally I’ve finished the first draft of Recital and it’s come in at just over 73,000 words. That is to say, I wrote the last word of the book and it was the 73659th. The most exciting thing about this is that, regardless of the fact that there are massive gaps in the narrative and whole sections where I’ve said things like ‘something happens here’, I actually managed to make it to the end. I’ve printed it out to have a read through and it feels nice to hold something physical. Flipping through the pages makes me feel like an author.
What’s amazed me is how long it’s taken me to get here. Several false starts (with an initial version of 10k words and a second, longer attempt discarded) and a huge amount of procrastination (when the narrative confuses me I have a tendency to stare into space) have meant it’s been a bit of a bumpy ride. I’ve kept myself going through the years with the mantra ‘Just think how good you’ll feel when it’s finished’. And it’s kind of true; I have the first draft sitting on my desk, and it does feel kind of good.
However, I’d call this the ‘musical chairs’ draft. By that I mean that the mechanics of the plot work, the characters behave themselves in space and time and everyone gets to where they need to be for things to happen. That’s not to say it’s told eloquently as there is an awful lot of chaff (pointless explanations and redundant text) and for the most part there’s not enough close third person (too many people going from place to place without a window into what they’re thinking). Although there’s quite a bit to pull out, there’s quite a lot more that needs to go in so I’m expecting the next draft to end up around 90k.
I’ve always known that the first draft would be a slog and the real work wouldn’t start till the second draft, so I’m glad I’m finally there. I’ve managed to manoeuvre all the players into the right places through the course of the story, but it ain’t no ballet. Now I have to breath some life into this thing and conjure up a little magic. If I listen to enough Scriabin I might be able to find some.
PS Sorry if Elvira distracted you in the photo. She does that, being Mistress Of The Dark and all.