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.

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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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