At the end of last week I reached the end of the novel I was writing. Well, the first draft of it anyway. It’s still rough and needs alot of editing, but I think that it is worth editing. Which is better than my previous one that I would need to completely re-write! So I’m improving!
Now that I’ve finished it I’m going to put it away for a few months, and then I plan in January to come back to it and edit it into a publishable format. So while this is a big milestone to have achieved, it is in no way the end of my work on this book! And while I have ideas about what’s going to happen next with these characters I’m going to step away from this scenario and write something else. I know that I have lots of editing to do to this manuscript, so when I do write the follow-up I want it to follow on from the end result of this story, not from what I’ve written so far. If I carried on with this now then any major changes I make (which is fairly likely to happen) I will need to cascade through to the sequel. Which seems like making work for myself, so I’m not going to do that.
Instead I’m going to write something completely different. I’m going back to an idea I had years and years ago. I’d even written a basic outline and details of the characters. It is a sci-fi story and it’s set on the first spaceship to leave our solar system. So it is the opposite to the historical fantasy that I’ve just been working on. And I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve gone back through the notes that I’d done before and matched the outline I wrote onto what I now know about story structure, and it lines up fairly well. Which was reassuring, and showed how much of this I have learnt without realising it just by reading.
For this story I am now working on fleshing out the outline further and developing the characters more before I start drafting it. I think that it is the outlining, and the work that goes into a story before actually writing it, that is the biggest change in my writing over the last couple of years. I’ve learnt that I am definitely a planner and having a clear goal for each scene before I write it really helps me write it. One of the reasons why the second half of this story took me so long to finish was that I hadn’t plotted the second half out as well as I had the first half. So that’s my challenge for this next story – to see if I can up my outlining game again. So I’d better get on it!