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Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, two years and two weeks after I started, I finished the first draft of The Novel.

To be honest, it is roughly 300,000 words of steaming equine feces, but it is done. You can fix something that’s been written. You can’t do anything to save something that hasn’t made it to the page.

There is plenty to fix. Plot holes. Poor descriptions. I’m sure I’ve called a character by one name and changed it halfway through. Some characters need more development. Some need to be cut.

I read somewhere that, out of any first draft, 1/6 is pure gold, 1/6 is perfectly serviceable, 1/6 can be saved and used with some adjustment, 1/6 might be salvageable for another project, 1/6 is unadulterated garbage, and 1/6 is justification that either the writer should have never started, or better yet been strangled at birth.

If I’m lucky, my percentages will run close to that. I fear that they will end up nearer the ‘should have been murdered in his crib’ end of the spectrum.

We’ll see.

I still have about 50,000 words to finish transcribing, which I will try and have done by the New Year, but the hardest part, the writing, is done. I will pack it away at that point, along with barley, hops, and yeast, and let it ferment for awhile. Once a suitable distance has been obtained, then the long, difficult task of trying to make something of the mess I’ve made.

Now to try and figure out what I’m going to work on in the meantime…

James

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