I haven’t posted much about my writing recently but I have a little good news to share about my novel for those following my progress: I finally finished the novel’s outline last week and as I couldn’t sleep last night as it was so hot in Sydney, at about 5:30 am I sat down and officially started on the first full draft of my novel. So it’s finally getting there.
To be honest I was so tired that I only managed a few lines but after more than two years planning it and all the backstory, it feels great to have finally started on it properly and I’m very excited with how it’s turning out. Can’t wait to get stuck into it later tonight.
As you can see in the photo I’ve given it the working title of Hallowden; at this stage I think it will probably be the final title as well, although that might change with time. Hallowden is the name of an ancient city where the majority of the novel is set and while I considered some other titles as well, in the end I thought it was the most suitable title as the city defines much of the novel. It also adds a bit of mystery to it that I like as well.
So what’s the novel about? Well, without giving too much away, the novel is about a man who returns to his home in Hallowden after fighting in a distant war, only to find that during his absence the ancient city has been taken over by extremists and is being torn apart by civil war. In the midst of the civil war, his lover has disappeared, feared killed in a brutal terrorist attack, and he must descend into Hallowden’s underworld to find the truth of what’s happened to her, to Hallowden, and to find her if she’s still alive.
The novel is set on an alternate Earth where magic and science are the same and it’s essentially a modern fable about religious extremism and the cost of war. It’s a bit of an adventure and a bittersweet love story as well… I guess I’m just trying to write the kind of novel I’d like to read and hopefully it will turn out well.
I hope to have this first draft (basically a rough draft without any dialogue or exposition) finished in about a month, then will start on the second (main) draft which will probably take about three or four months to write. There’ll probably be some revisions after that as well but with luck, hopefully I’ll have the whole thing finished in about six months.
Now that I’ve started I’ll be posting an update on my progress about once a fortnight and I’m also currently writing a short story set in the same world which I will post sometime in the next few weeks. If I have time I might also write a few other stories to help explore the novel’s backstory as well but I’ll see how I go first.
As far as my other writing goes, I’ve also almost finished a new poem which I’ve been working on for some time now and hope to post shortly. It’s a bit different to my normal poetry and I’m quite happy with it so far.
I’ve also been thinking about putting together an ebook collection of some of my previous works as a few people have suggested it to me now. The main reason I haven’t before is that I don’t think I own the copyrights to some of my published stories, so I’ll have to sort through my other stories and see if they’re of a high enough standard. The full novella version of The Life Artist might be an option… we’ll see.
I’m also still working on restoring my great-great grandfather Isaac’s memoir. I have a version of it scanned but the quality isn’t very good, so I need to type it by hand, which is a little time-consuming at the moment. I’m not sure when it will be finished but if anyone wants to read it in the meantime, I can send them the scanned copy. Just let me know.
In any case that’s where I’m up to with my writing at the moment. The novel’s coming along well and it feels great to finally be working on the first draft. I’ll have a bit more to reveal about the story once the draft’s finished as well.
Thank you to everyone who’s left comments or sent me emails recently as well. I haven’t had time to reply yet but I’ll be answering them properly tonight. ~ CJ.
2 thoughts on “Novel Update”
Wow, more than two years of planning! Are you a uber-thorough, Tolkien-style planner, or do other things just get in the way? You must have a pretty impressive collection of notes though 🙂 Another thing really intrigues me – your first draft won’t contain any dialogue? I’m curious as to how that works!
Hi Rewan, thanks for your comment. I’m not sure I’m quite as thorough as Tolkien was but I’m definitely a bit of a perfectionist with my writing, which is probably why it’s taken me two years… I wanted to make sure everything was planned out just right! A few personal things slowed me down as well but I’m happy just to have finally started. Slow and steady wins the race, I guess! 🙂
As far as the dialogue goes, my first drafts tend to focus more on the most important scenes and getting the basic structure of the story right first and so when I can, I’ll often streamline or skip over things like dialogue and exposition to go back to them in more detail later – usually I’ll write a quick summary of what I want the characters to say or do and then move on in the scene and eventually I flesh it out properly in the second draft. I guess it’s more of a mix of a draft and an outline than a typical first draft usually is but it works for me and I find it’s more important that I know the basic story works and doesn’t have any holes in it. My work tends to be more prose-heavy anyway, which might be why it works for me as well.
You’re right though, I do have an awful lot of notes! I’ve got folders and folders full of them – so many I’ve had to start typing them up just to get them in order! I need a new filofax. Or maybe a secretary! 🙂
Thanks again for stopping by and good luck finding an agent for your novel. It sounds very interesting.