Friday, July 09, 2010

The Novel by the Numbers

Guess what. The first draft of the novel is written! It seems to me I was more excited when I finished the next to last chapter than I am now, though. Now, all I can think is, "I hope this isn't a huge disappointment to everyone who thinks I can write." Oh well, my parents will love it (they love everything I do), even if no one else does.

And without further ado, as promised by the title of this post, I bring you some numbers:

# of pages: 330 (I didn't plan that, but I like this nice, even number that ends in a zero, and I love the 3's. 3+3=6, and 3x3=9, which is an upside down six. I, being somewhat of a numbers geek, have always liked things like that.
Mind you, these are hand-written pages. Yes, I write first drafts longhand. It guarantees no one will ever read them, because my handwriting is impossible to decipher).

# of chapters: 12 (which is exactly how many were outlined).

# of chapters that followed the outline precisely: 0 (but some came pretty damn close to doing so. Okay, a few...All right, maybe one or two...).

# of chapters I've written for the second volume in the series: 1/2 (you have to strike when the moment hits. However, I wrote all the chapters for this book in sequence. I even wrote each part in sequence, which I didn't necessarily expect to do, but should have, given my anal retentive nature).

# of months I expected it to take me to write: 6 (ROFLMAO).

# of months it took me to write: 16 (that was much more realistic, especially since last year was the year of family illnesses, job loss, new job, etc.).

# of months I think it will take me to revise: 6 (should I be ROFLMAO again? But, really, I do think it will take less than 16. At least, I hope it does).

# of times I sat down to work on it, stared at what I'd last written, hated it, and wrote a ghost story instead: about 3, I think (and I don't like any of the resulting ghost stories, either. Maybe, contrary to what everyone will tell you, there are just some days that it is best not to write).

# of times I wanted to give up and burn the whole thing: 5? (you have to understand that this is actually a huge improvement over other novels I've attempted to write, some of which did get burned).

# of characters who will probably get written out in the revisions: at least 6 (I've done what I hate authors to do: introduced way too many characters for anyone to keep straight).

# of characters I wanted to despise, meant to despise, but just couldn't: 2 (I didn't mean to be able to empathize with them, but they were more complicated than I expected. However, the third I expected to despise, I do despise).

# of characters in the book who are people I actually know: 0 (but there are bits and pieces of all kinds of people I've known throughout my life in all of them).

# of characters in the book who are me: all (how did that happen? Even the one I despise).

# of scenes that someone in real life will recognize as something he related to me that had (sort of) happened to him: 1 (you know who you are. Please don't spill the beans, okay? Well, unless the book is published. Then you can brag all you want about how you gave me that scene, and I'll sign your copy, thanking you for it).

# of times I thought, "Oh well. I'll fix that when I revise it.": 1,000,006?

# of people I'd like to thank for encouraging me in this process: countless! Thank you to all of you.

# of friends who have agreed to read the first readable draft: 6 (I hope they all still agree. I know what a burden it is to be asked to read manuscripts).

And now, on to revisions...

6 comments:

Stefanie said...

Congratulations! Now the fun really starts. I always find revising is so much more enjoyable because the really hard part of creating everything from scratch is done. I hope you are going to celebrate in some way. And if you ever need another reader...

Kristi said...

Congratulations! I have been following your blog for quite a while (I used to be yogamum/gumbomum and am now on my third secret identity) and I couldn't be more thrilled for you!

I would love to be where you are in 6 or 16 months ;-)

Cam said...

Congrats! Good luck with the rewrites!

Smithereens said...

That's awesome, congratulations! Will you consider typing it during revisions? It might help, you know (I certainly have first hand experience of your handwriting ;) !) I hope you'll let us know what it is about, the suspense is killing me...

Charlotte said...

Well done! What a thrill that must be. If you're looking for writerly support, I am happy to help out in any way. Also, I belong to Litopia, an online writers' forum that is seriously fabulous. Google it and take a look around. If you decide to join, then send me a message.

Emily Barton said...

Stef, yes, I do think that the revising is going to be fun, especially now that I know all the characters so much better than I did when I started.

Kristi, ooo, a lurker. I love lurkers. Keep plugging away, and I promise you will be where I am in 6or 16 months (although, remember, I don't have kids, so don't be discouraged if it takes a little longer).

Cam, thanks!

Smithereens, don't worry: revising means typing. I mean, at some point, I want others to be able to read this. In a nutshell, it's a farcical novel about a small town in the South (a stranger comes to town).

Charlotte, thank you! I will check into Litopia, and will keep you in mind for writerly advice, since you are a little further along in this process than I am.