The Novella’s Progress – first draft complete

The End, how satisfying it is to write those two little words after weeks, or months, or sometimes years of putting your soul into a manuscript.

My novella finished up at 26,690 words. I was aiming for between 25,000 and 30,000 words, so I’m happy with the length.

From go to whoa the writing took exactly 6 weeks. I was aiming to write 5,000 words per week. So I fell a little short. Who else but me (and you) would know? And no-one but me would care.

I’m pleased with the way I tied off all the loose ends and the sub-plots, and brought the story to a conclusion that I think is satisfying.

How did I do that? I used my mind map, which I stuck to the wall next to my computer. I’m a visual person, so being able to see a chart with all the coloured twigs and branches, and the links between them, I just knew where the story was going. I chose not to do a scene map after all because the piece was short enough to keep fluid and mostly in my head. As I wrote the last scene a twist to the plot sprang out of no-where, that I don’t believe would have happened if I’d been using the left side of my brain.

But wait, there’s more. I’d received some very encouraging feedback from a writers group I belong to. (We meet every month and swap about 5 pages of manuscript for mutual critiquing). I was asked if the story was set in the 1970s because it had that sort of feel. It isn’t. It’s supposed to be contemporary. Just for fun (and before I wrote The End), I drafted a frame story – set 25 years from now – around the main story. I think it works!

Now for the real work to begin: the edit. I’ll let you know how it goes.


About Debbie Terranova

Debbie Terranova is an Australian author of contemporary and historical fiction. 'The Scarlet Key' published in 2016 is the second Seth VerBeek mystery. The crime-busting reporter is back with a new cast of unforgettable characters and a new puzzle to solve. It's about live, love, death, and tattoos, with a touch of the mystical. 'Baby Farm', her debut novel, is a cozy crime mystery about forced adoptions of the 1970s, and a surrogacy and baby trafficking racket. It is the first of the Seth VerBeek series. Debbie Terranova is a prizewinning author of short stories: 'Mowbray Brothers' about growing up in East Brisbane in the 1920s; and 'Mischief' about reinventing yourself and in the process falling in love ... with an adorable but mischievous cat.
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2 Responses to The Novella’s Progress – first draft complete

  1. I find my writing group absolutely invaluable. There’s a woman in our group who is working on her third novel for publication. It’s a historical novel but her agent said that she would have trouble selling it without a ‘modern envelope’. It seems that this is very in fashion at the moment. I love that you have framed your story almost in the reverse – that’s clever. It goes to show that advice from other people can make us see new perspectives, which often end up improving a work. Good luck with the edit.

  2. dterranova says:

    Thanks for your comment. Writing would be a lonely business/hobby/pastime if it weren’t for others who share the passion. Good luck with your own writing.

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