We have a first draft, sugar people!
It’s a few thousand words short of my original estimate, but that was overinflated by the level of polish on the initial chapters compared to the roughness of what came after. (I always tell myself THIS TIME I’ll clean up the rough draft as I go so there’s not as much work to do later, and I always give up on that idea by chapter two.) The ~47,000 words I ended up with will double to a good length once I expand all the [describe thing] and [insert action here] and shorthand fragments to actual sentences. And let us not forgot [sneak into arena, evading guards], which I’m sure will be an amazing scene once the night-shift elves write it for me.
I had the perfect title for a related book I was going to write after this one and wanted this book to have a coordinating title to show the relationship, but now that there’s a -112% chance I’ll write the other book, I need a better title for this one that stands on its own. I have two variations on a possibility. Here’s hoping something amazing emerges during revision.
I’ve looked at stock photos for cover art and perhaps found a headless guy sturdy enough to represent Phin without being off-puttingly massive. (Let me clarify: a headless guy sturdy enough without being off-puttingly massive who’s not grabbing his crotch or doing something weird with his arms. There were plenty of bodies that would have been fine, but cripes, what are they thinking with those poses.) I might need to buy a font to dress things up because I’m not getting more artistic than mantitty. The nonexistent budget this time won’t extend to a cover artist.
I doubt I’ll bother publishing a paperback version. They don’t sell well. I might just do a proof copy to complete my own collection and never push the listing through.
The next phase of my “writing career” is dancing around my feet like a circus poodle begging for attention. I’m excited about the ideas, but that’s not unusual — ideas are fun; putting one word after another in a sensible and entertaining fashion is a drag. Bets have been placed that the hard part will be easier when I’m writing the kind of stories that are more in my wheelhouse, but none of the gamblers truly grasps the degree of my wordfinding struggles. It can take me hours to work out a blog comment. Trust me, I’m never going to whiz through a novel, no matter how stoked I am about the daggers, dragons, deception, and damnation.
Now I get to escape the computer for a while (my carpal tunnels rejoice…) and get my hands inky tearing this mess apart word by word.