Phew. That took a while, didn't it?
This past Wednesday afternoon, I put the capper on the first draft to GLORIOUS SLIP, the first book in my planned men's adventure time travel series. The draft checked in at 189 pages, and at 81,850 words, it is my shortest full-length novel. And with the exception of THE QUEST FOR THE CHALICE, my first novel (part of THE OBLOERON SAGA), the 15 months it took me to complete the first draft was the longest I've ever needed to do so.
Take a bow? Not quite yet.
On Friday, I dove into the start of the second draft, added about 101 words to the prose, tweaking the first chapter and a half. I stopped after coming to a part which will need all my attention in the next few days: a massive re-write of a 1,900-word scene that just doesn't make sense to anything resembling a realistic happening -- or realism, period. I suspect it shouldn't take me more than a few days to straighten out, but there are some other threads attached to this scene in the next chapter or so which also need re-writing; you pull at one thread, and the entirety of the project falls apart, right?
That can happen, but I don't think that will necessarily happen here: this activity should oh-most-definitely turn the start of the narrative to titanium.
So why did it take me so long to write? You have to remember something: when I started this novel back in November 2017, I ran into some issues that I didn't foresee whatsoever.
There was The Great Root Canal post Thanksgiving, which took me out of service for a couple of days (seriously, so many dental issues that took up a lot of time between then and this past Christmas... 13 months of driving back and forth to my dentist in Holden, about 45 minutes or so each way).
There was the fact I really couldn't get a handle on this project; I wanted to tell a complete story, like I always do, and I wanted to do so in a completely different voice, so it made the writing feel like I was pulling teeth.
I also had two trips to my hometown every week to do a pair of local sports radio shows, which also demanded on my time, especially when it came to teams that I didn't cover personally; I couldn't write afterward, because those trips and shows took a lot out of me emotionally.
And in April of last year, I took on a wonderful dream job: on top of covering the local high schools, I started covering the New England Revolution soccer team, and even though it's considered part time, I threw myself into it like I always do. All of those things wrapped into one, unfortunately, and it meant GLORIOUS had to go on the shelf. I did get a little written during the tail end of the World Cup in July, but that was it for the first draft until the offseason began -- and even then I was still busy with high school sports until December. And even then, with me taking some time off from the high school sportswriting because the newspaper owed me so much money from November alone, it was still a challenge to open the file and get some words in.
With the Revs spending the preseason in Spain and now in Florida, and with what appears like no streams of the matches in sight, I resolved at the end of January to get the first draft, at the very least, completed by the start of the regular season on March 2. That's accomplished, yes, but I'm not giving the story time to breathe like I usually do; I feel that with the time I have afforded to me, I should at the very least try to get most of the book's issues sorted -- which, like I always say, are in the first half of the book.
Will I get the full second draft completed by the start of the regular season? Probably not. Maybe; I'm not counting on it, though. I should be able to crank the re-writes out this week, and then there's some additions to the story that I came up with a couple of weeks ago: some Doc Brown-esque letters by the protagonist to his parents that wouldn't be delivered until after he had disappeared, so I have those to write. If I get the second draft finished by then, fantastic. If not, it won't bother me until June, when the Revs have a few weeks off due to the Gold Cup. I don't suspect that there will be too much to re-write in the second half of the novel, but you never know.
In all seriousness, I don't want to rush such an important book. It's the first in a planned trilogy, with a lot of the action happening in books two and three. This is a set-up book, to hook the readers and get them to buy books two and three, whenever I get to write them (and if something else gets in my way, it may be a few years before I get the opportunity to sit down and churn out the pages). I'm going to take my time with these re-writes and revisions (read: small tweaks, such as grammar or expounding on other things), and make sure the book is pure fire before I send it to Kim for her edits. I may send it to Bruce, too. He's a history buff, and I'm sure that he'll have things to contribute, advice-wise.
I really can't wait to show you the first book. It's going to be some time, though, so please be patient with me.
Thanks for your time, as always.