The first draft is finished. And I'm a little surprised at myself.
This was not the first novel-length work I've done. It may end up being the first one published, but I've done others. Out of curiosity, I went back and checked what the total writing times were on those. For your amusement, here they are:
Thriller / Horror 1st Novel (@67,000 words): 1 year, 3 months, 20 days = 475 days.
Fantasy Novel Book 1 (@81,000 words): 1 year, 6 months, 14 days = 562 days.
Fantasy Novel Book 2 (@97,000 words): 1 year, 6 months, 29 days = 578 days.
Getting the picture here? Over a year, at minimum for a first draft.
Not much has changed. Still have a day job, still only get to write about an hour to two hours a day. But here's the stats on the first draft of this one.
Just over 85,000 words, so not the longest thing I've done, but up there. Total writing time: 32 days.
Now either my discipline has increased a thousand-fold, or this story wanted to be told. Since my writing habits didn't change other than I had to get back into them, I'd say the latter is the case.
Don't get me wrong, this thing is nowhere near ready for publication, even if I do it myself. Beyond needing a thorough spell-check and line edit to make sure MS Word didn't say I was fine with the word choice just because it was spelled right, I'm sure there's some continuity errors and plot holes that need fixing. And since I moved onto a new project the day after I finished the first draft of this one, I have to work editing time into my schedule somewhere, so it'll be a while before I say it's ready for the general public to consume it. But that doesn't take away from the fact that I got the raw story out onto paper in basically a single month. Actually, call it that since I did take two days off when I took my family camping.
One month = one draft. Nice.
Let's see if it holds for the next project.
As for this one, beta readers will be getting it as soon as I get it printed and bound for you guys. I'll be doing some self-editing for spelling, grammar, content, and word choice in the meantime. Hopefully the second draft will be done in about six weeks, with a final draft incorporating advice from the betas in about three months. Then it's off to submission and wait for a response. If it's no, I'll commission cover art and hopefully have it ready for self publication by the end of the year or start of next year. If it's a yes, well, believe me, you'll know.
I'll post a note about the next project once it takes shape a little more on paper rather than just in my head. All I'll say for now is that it could be a spiritual sequel to Graduation Summer, only you don't have to read that one to understand this one.
And now back to it!