I finished the first draft of Branded in mid-October. At 135,000 words it is way too big for a young adult novel, so I am going to have to try to cut tens of thousands of words from it. I have already written notes for its sequel set 20 years later.
I am happy with the story, but the writing is going to have to improve. After a night spent night thinking about whether to go straight into redrafting it or to put it away for a while and go back to another novel, I got up the next day and started redrafting it.
My redrafting is not editing, it is a lot of rewriting. I had hoped to start cutting the novel’s length, but by the end of the month, I had added another chapter and probably about 3,000 words to its length. Hopefully that is only because I now know my characters a lot better and I am just filling in some details at the start that will be cut out later on.
So all up, as you can see from the graph, I wrote about 12,444 words of fiction for October. That’s an average of 401 words a day. On eleven days I got to my quota of 500 words. During the editing phase, I hope to edit for two hours a day at the least.
I received my first critique/edit of Shrinking, the short story I have written for a Christmas anthology a few of us Australian Writer Forum writers are putting together. It’s the first critique I have had of my work since finishing my masters, eight years ago. Since my masters, I have mainly spent my time writing first drafts of novels, so there has been nothing to critique.
The critique was from a writer who I had critiqued and who, according to me, can write well. His critique of my story was positive and found no major problems with the story. His edits will be very helpful.
I critiqued another story for the anthology. This one was non-fiction, so I feel, after working with five different editors for Divine, I know what I am talking about when I suggested many changes to the story. It’s a good story, about the time the writer spent Christmas on an Aboriginal reserve, but I found many things, mostly small, but many repetitive, that I thought could be changed. I hope he doesn’t take offense with all the red ink I put on it.
I also nearly finished critiquing the novel I started critiquing mid-August. I critiqued about 22000 words of it in four hits in October. It’s a very good novel that I am enjoying reading.
Once again, I read virtually nothing for the month, as I was too tired at night to read. I am still halfway through Hugh Howey’s Dust.