First of all a HUGE thank you to everyone who left me comments or emailed to say congrats on me finishing my novel. I felt really quite overwhelmed by all the support.
Now my head has cleared a bit (and the hangover has finally gone) it's time for a few stats. These are probably only of interest to me but seeing as I've charted the life of my novel, from initial ideal to last word, it seems like a good idea. Also, when I go on to write novel #2 I'll probably find it interesting to look back and compare my progress against novel #1.
23 Feb 2007: scribbled down ideas for novel
15 March 2007: wrote the first words of the first chapter
8 July 2007: wrote "The END"
Total number of words written: 99,535
Time taken to write novel: 3 months and 3 weeks
Number of actual writing days (I didn't write every day for the 3 months and 3 days): 86
Highest number of words written in one day: 6,141 (on the last day!)
Lowest number of words written in one day (other than zero!): 213
Average number of words written per day (dividing total words by 86 writing days) : 1157
Number of pages in Word document (finished novel laid out with wide margins, 12 point, courier new, double-spaced): 481
God - looking at it broken down like that makes me wonder how the hell I managed to do and hold down a 'real job' too!
Part of the reason why I wrote as though my pants were on fire was because I started a children's novel in 2005, took a break to 'think about it' and never wrote another word. With this novel I wanted to prove to myself that I could write and finish a novel but I was still very superstitious - I was worried that if I took a break of more than one or two days I'd stop writing it so I wrote and wrote and wrote.
The other reason why I wrote this novel at speed is because, although we tell ourselves that we'll do things 'tomorrow', sometimes there is no 'tomorrow'. Sometimes our tomorrows run out. I've always wanted to write a novel but month after month, year after year I made excuses about how 'now' wasn't the right time to do it. I'd write a novel, I told myself, when I felt less stressed or less tired or less busy. This year I decided I had to stop procrastinating and go after my dream. When I started this novel my life was as stressful and as tiring and as complicated as ever but my mindset had changed. This time I was going to write a novel and I was going to bloody well finish it. And I have.
I've spent the last couple of days working on the layout of my novel. I know I said I wasn't going to edit it and I haven't (okay, so I've tweaked a few things but I haven't begun editing in earnest). One thing I needed to do before I put the novel in a drawer was to lay it out properly. Because I wrote the novel using YWriter (free novel-writing software) and often pasted in scenes I'd written in Word or whatever when I exported the whole novel into Word was a bit of a mess. Sometimes there were line breaks after paragraphs, sometimes there weren't. Sometimes there was indentation at the beginning of a paragraph, sometimes there wasn't.
What I needed to do was make the whole thing look as professionally laid out as possible so that when I came to read and edit it I wouldn't be distracted by a sloppy layout.
I searched the net for tips on how to layout a novel and the advice I decided to take was from the BBC Writersroom. To view their pdf on how to layout a novel for submission to an agent/publisher click here . I'm not sure if their advice is a little outdated (if it is please let me know!) but it really helped me.
Now all I need to do is print out all 481 pages *gulp* and hide them away in a safe place before I start editing at the beginning of August.
In the meantime I'm reading this book:
And I'll be going back to this one that I started flicking through a few weeks ago (and hugely recommend):
I've only just started reading the 'Self-editing' book and I've realised that editing is going to be a MASSIVE task. If anyone has any hints or tips or would like to share how they approaching editing their novel please do comment (e.g. did you take it in stages and look at plot and time lines first and then characterisation and then do line edits or did you take a more random approach and edit it as you worked from beginning to end). I could do with all the advice I can get!