It's no secret. The drafting process of my seventh book is finally over--the shortest and most time consuming novel I have yet to write (two and a half years). Then again, J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book took five years, and it's even shorter. There's still hope, right?
Two and a half years is a fair chunk of time. I'd be an idiot if I hadn't learned something from it. I think I did, and maybe these lessons learned will be helpful to you.
Length - it matters, depending on the market you write for. I started with epics. I was long-winded. Now that I've found my niche and finished my second YA book, word count really matters. Even now I understand that my almost 105k novel is a little too long for a YA entry. Not to worry. The editing stage has just begun and I've already cut 2000 words from the first three chapters. They read better now, and still retain its potency. The difference between writing to impress and telling a story really is tens of thousands of words. I've cut back!
Feedback - this book is also a collaboration, a story created by two with artistic/literary license granted to me. Writing to fit my vision with another's has been the most challenging and rewarding experience in my thirteen years of writing. It helped me find my voice, having my creative expression scrutinized by my fellow creator, Michael, and my select horde of alpha readers.
Integration - life happens. It's not always pleasant. Several accidents slowed me down and required some real effort to think straight again (head injury). Even so, those unpleasantries make for great story fodder. I fell off a horse and hit my head. Apply to my main alternate -medieval character, add a fear of horses, and you have a unique aspect that allowed an outlet for my frustration and a flaw that makes the character more likable.
There's a library shelf full of other lessons learned, but these are the most career-changing. I couldn't do this without my friends, supportive wife, amazing alphas, and this awesome blogging community. Your readership means a lot. Thought you deserved to know that.
Click here on Thursday--Aspiring Advice is coming back!
I'm David, and it's manuscript slice-and-dice time!