The manuscript is finished.
After five years the manuscript has finally been completed.
And truth be told, I happy to see the back of it. This story has been festering in my mind for so long that I've been unable to think of the take on anything else. I had to stop writing it because it became unwieldy. I then went and wrote something else, a novella that expanded into a novel length story. And always at the back of my mind was the beast that was Frostfeld :The end of the world as you know it. The bloody thing hung around my neck like an
albatross, and why?
Because.......I don't know why. I was just unable to finish it. Maybe the vision I had for it was too ambitious. Or maybe I wanted to wait until I felt I was better. Either way, I came to realise that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I wrote, it would only ever be as good as it would be now. I could only ever write the best can at this moment in time. Attempting to leap forward was an impossibly.
So, I resolved to finish it. And now it is.
Now it's done. Soon I'll be unleashing it onto an unsuspecting public. Letting it go out into the world and have a life of its own beyond my control. It's scary, but at the same time, exhilarating.
Now I can move on to other stories and other brave new worlds. Now I can start editing the books sequel that's been sitting on my hard drive for the past two years. Now can work on the other sequels, and bring characters I've been thinking about for years, to life.
Over to you guys. Welcome to the world Marlyn Frostfeld.
Think about that.
I've been alive now for a quarter of a century and only now do I feel as if I know what I want in life. Only now do I know how to get what I want in life. I wasted 10 years through indecision, stupidity, stubbornness, close mindedness and fear. And every day i try to make up for lost time. Every single day I try to claw back the time I've wasted.
But this is not a day of recrimination. Or at least, it is not a day for recrimination alone. I would be doing myself an injustice if I didn't draw attention of the monumental achievement that is the completion of draft one of my novel. I would be doing myself an injustice if I did not recognise that how profoundly that has changed my life.
I am a better man by virtue of committing myself to finishing something. I am a better man by virtue of the friends I have. I am a better man by realising that pain and struggle are transitory and are the price you pay for success. They are universe testing you to see how badly you want what you say you want and what you are prepared to do to get it.
I am in pain now. I will do almost anything with in reason to get Frostfeld Book 1.0 in your hands by summer. Success is forthcoming.
Firstly, let me take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who read the first draft of my manuscript, i'm sorry.
I'm sorry for sending you a work reflective of enthusiasm, but not of professionalism. A work riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. A work which would frustrate even the most diligent of reader and test the patience of anyone who read it.
I'm so very sorry. It demonstrated an attitude of casual amatureness and wilful inconsideration. It will not happen again. Indeed. I am not the person I was when I started writing my novel.
Anywoo, on to the finer things. The first half of the first draft has been completely edited. All 250 pages worth. There is not a single page that is not filled with red pen marks and corrections. It was very hard work, made harder by the afore mentioned grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and some really, really turgid, cliché writing, but you live and learn. No one is cooked fresh out of the box. Everyone need to do the work to become who they are. Doing the work and learning takes you closer to being you.
I've written several pages of notes on what needs to be fixed and how, which has given me a map of how more the first draft away for being a Frankensteins monsters and closer to being a the story i want it to be. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but if I plan carefully and set goals for myself, i should be able to finished the book with time to spare.
Also, as a matter of urgency, I need to get the second draft done before the beginning of the festive season so the my "faithful editors" they can spend a bit of time going over my draft before the holiday madness. You need a second set of eyes to help you see the cracks you cant see.
I'm aiming to have the third and (hopefully) final draft finished by my birthday. Then I've got just over a month and a half to layout and design my book. Not to mention the illustrations that I've been working on undercover of darkness. Which reminds me, I have an email to send a certain working illustrator. Also need a fresh set of eyes for my book illustrations.
So, it's November 1st. 2011. Just under six months until the deadline I've set myself to have the book finished in its entirety. A month later it'll be eastercon. And nothing would give me greater pleasure that to put my novel in the hands of the writers who have influenced me. And who know what will happen then.
But before that come a lot of hard, hard work. Lets see if I cant nip this second draft in the bud my months end.
1500 words a day?
To work then.
Well done me.
Now the really hard work begins as I have to start work on the illustrations for the novel.
My biggest flaw has always been that my ambition has out stripped my ability. I am at the point now where I'm finally being realistic about what I can accomplish with the time and skill available. Though not without a lot head pounding, to be certain....
So, eight black and white illustrations and six-ish months. Doable? Possibly. But only if I approach the illustrations with the same passion and dedication I did with the writing. That I refuse to cut corners and actually do the hard graft.
Firstly and most importantly, I need to complete "one" to the best of my ability in order to see both where I'm at skills wise and how it takes me to complete the piece. Based on that outcome I'll have a clearer idea of whether I'm still being too ambitious and I need to curtail the amount of pieces I intend to submit.
So, eight illustrations to do. But which ones? Its been suggested that I should either work on the images that I can visualise clearest, or create a beat board and illustrate the most pivotal moments in the book. Which funnily enough are all the moments I originally envisioned illustrating.
So, here I am. I know what has to be done and how to do. And I know what how much work its going to take. What I don't know is how long its going to take. The only way I can find out is by doing it.
It never ends people. But, I wouldn't rather be doing anything else.
Just shy of 150 thousand words and 318 pages. The first draft of my first novel is complete. I cant help but feel a great sense of..emptiness. Something which had taken up my life entire has left a void. I remember when the first ideas for the novel came to me. Way back in 1996. They were random bits and pieces but had no cohesive center. Rubble and debris circling a star.
It wasn't until 2004 that elements of a story began to form. But I still had no protagonist. No structure. Just a series of uncollected islands in close proximity to each other.
One day in 2006 Marlyn Frostfeld popped into my head.
Followed in quick succession by her best friend: the pugnacious Ayami Kojima.
A story quickly began to take shape as well as a desire to tell it. I hadn't written in years at this point but the desire to craft a story became stronger everyday.
In 2007 I became serious about writing the novel.
In early 2009 I actually started writing the fucker.
Fast forward to today. 2011-09-21 and i have the fruit of my labors sitting in various media around my house and on the net (dropbox is your friend). I still find it difficult to accept what I've been able to accomplish. That there exists in the world a rough manuscript with characters and situations which do not exist before i breathed life into them.
I see them so clearly now. I hear their voices. But for now, they must remain silent. But only for a time. By the end of the week a printout of the manuscript will be in my hands. This will find its way into a secure folder and be put in a drawer. Where it will remain for six weeks.
At that time I will start work on proof reading and editing the work. Soon after that i will start work on the second draft.
Its fun. Its interesting. Its a learning experience. But it is work.
So, what do I plan to do over the next couple of weeks? Why, start work on the sequel and the illustrations for book one of course! I've got a plot outline to nail down!
It never ends my friends. Never.
Back to work.
EASTERCON 2012: April 6 2012
PRINTED BOOK RETURNED FROM BIDDLES BY THE WEEK BEFORE EASTERCON, AT THE VERY LATEST.
COMPLETED NOVEL FILE UPLOADED TO BIDDLES - 2ND WEEK IN MARCH
BOOK DESIGNED AND LAID OUT
ILLUSTRATIONS COMPLETED, SCANNED AND RETOUCHED
FINAL DRAFT COMPLETED.
(NOW 2012/8/29)FIRST DRAFT NEARING COMPLETION(95%)
SIX MONTHS IN TOTAL.
A FUCK LOAD OF WORK.
What is it like to hold in your hand something for which you have labored on and sacrificed time and energy for?
What is it like to hold in your hand something that would not exist if not for you?
What is it like to hold a physical representation of hours/days/months/years worth of work?
My thoughts have been dwelling on these questions of late. As i approach the end of creating the most demanding thing i have ever attempted, I find myself wondering what it will feel like to finish.
Let me share a small revelation with you: I've never completed anything that I've not cut a corner or tried to find a short cut through. I've never had to sit on my arse and work on something until I got it right. Sure, there will be grammatical errors and plot holes but none have been recreated though laziness or a desire to get the bloody thing done, finished and off my back.
I have an invested interest in doing this right. Never before have I been so committed to delivering something which is genuinely that best that I can do.
This is an entirely new experience for me. Part of me wondered why I've never done it before, then another part of me remember full well how much hard work it has taken for me to reach this point. Part of me remembers how much time i have sacrificed for this..novel.
Let me share another revelation with you. It is only now, after writing nearly 124,000 words, 272 pages, reading voraciously in a manner that I've not done since i was a child, and actually buying books for research purposes that i actually feel that conformable with calling myself a writer. Previously, i felt like a fraud. As if at any moment, someone would tap me on the shoulder and inform me that i was a fake and charlatan. That I would be escorted off the premises forthwith and not be allow back in. I've been informed by several writers that this feeling is quite common when your just starting out.
The end, the REAL end is still some way off. But AN end is within sight. And for some reason i feel a great sense of....apprehension. That the feeling of euphoria I'll experience will be tainted by the knowledge that i should and could have done this sooner if not my my own laziness and fear. A fear of failure or fear of looking stupid.
So i ask: What is like to finish?
I scrolled through the manuscript yesterday afternoon, and it began to sink in what an achievement I've had been able to accomplish.
I remember writing the very first page. The very first line of text. I can remember reading the first chapter back to myself and being astounded that I had been able to write something that was readable.
I remember every library, every festival hall, every bedroom and hotel room I wrote the novel in. The novel has become an indelible part of my life. I cannot imagine my life without my netbook open and the voices of Marlyn, Phillip, Michael, Ayami (The mighty Ayami!! )Georgina, Miriam and the mother superior speaking to me in low whispers, bidding me to tell their tale. I am their narrator and I sing their song.
It is only now, that i near the end that I can actually say I am a writer and not feel like a fraud. I think of stories all the time now. I hear voices and they ask me to tell their tales. They ask me to bare witness. I am a conduit.
I cannot imagine what it will feel like when i press the full stop button for the last time and save the manuscript to the mutiple locations i save it to and declare that the first draft it completed. I have no idea what it will feel like to have the finished novel, illustrated, formatted, printed and in my hands. No idea what so ever.
But what i do know as a matter of certainty is that the day of this happening is fast approaching. This time next year the finished novel will be in my hands. This time next year all the doubters and nay sayer will be proven categorically wrong. I will have a physical object that represents-at this point-two years of hard work and sacrifice.
I just don't know what its going to feel like.
Only I wish I had done this three years ago, instead of two. I wish had listened more to the right advice. I wish I had done the work instead of trying to take short cuts. I wish read all the books I have surrounded myself with.
THE END OF THE WORLD AS YOU KNOW IT Book 1: Awakening
THE END OF THE WORLD AS YOU KNOW IT Book 2: The Battle Of Amsterdam
At some point I may combine the two into one book. Which will obviously be called: The Complete Frostfeld: The End of the world as you know it.
It involves so many moving parts which have to, at some point, all fit together. There are tons of characters who are crutial to the plot who have all take a step or two away from where I originally intended them to be and it all adds up to work slowing down to the speed of a crawl.
I have to proceed with caution and reverence.
I believe (and this is a VERY rough estimate), that I have around 30 pages to write left before I meet up with the pre-written ending, which itself will have to be edited slightly. Then, i'll be done. Finished.
Until the second draft, that is.
If there are spelling mistakes in this post, i'm sorry. I'm fighting effects of a serious lack of sleep. Or rather a need for sleep encroaching on me.
I have no idea how i'm going to celebrate that special day. Maybe, after long hard i'll treat myself to a lie-in. Goddess knows i've earned it. Though i doubt i'll be doing that. Food and a small amount of alcohol with probably be involved in any post completion celebrations.
Anywho, just was wanted to give you proof that i'm still alive and still beavering away. Crawling isnt standing still.
Now i'm away to bed.
A month at the very earliest, may be two. But not before that. No way.
Plus I'm going to have to tinker with the pre written ending due to the plot changing slightly over the course of writing.
All in all, a lot of hard work. But not dull or tedious in the slightest. I'm having the time of my life.
Gotta be fearless in everything you do, my brothers and sisters.
Oh before I forget, look at what turned up this morning.
But now, having learnt or at the very least having started to learn what i didn't know and know exactly what i didn't know and how to find out how to learn what i don't know, I'm in a far better position than i was last January.
Still, i can guarantee you, writing was the easy part!!
For the next few weeks I'm going to start breathing life into my characters. With pencil and ink and brushes Im going to try to get them looking as close to how I envision them as humanly possible.
I've got well over 25 empty sketchbook littered around my room. I aim to fill up at least half of them by the time all of the illustrations are completed. And i can promise you that they will look at much like this as possible.
And as a rough estimate, we are talking about a 40+ black and white illustrations for a 200+ page book. Not to mention a color front cover. To to be done by the beginning of the festive season.
Sweet baby Jesus, i better get started and very organised!!
Wish me luck
Oh yes. Remind me to show you the books and the artist whom I'm looking at for inspiration. It's a long and varied list, i can promise you!
No, it like trying to find a needle in a haystack of needles.
I've just spent the last 2 days writing less then four hundred words. I'm trying to articulate a crucial plot point without it seeming too forced and like an infodrop. And it's been a gratuitous experience.
Still, I'm at the other end of the process now, clawing my way, inch by inch to the pre written final chapter.
A very difficult two days.