The anatomy of a draft

I’ve been hard at work the last 12 months (or so) on draft one of an epic urban fantasy novel. 12 months is a long time, but then so is almost 130,000 words. Over the next few weeks I see myself coasting into the finish line, as I work on the last bunch of chapters. I consider the paths I’ve taken during this draft, the doubts, the hiccups, my growth as a writer.

Kingdom of the Sun (working title, but I’m warming to it as an actual title) is a novel that I definitely want to get published, but it’s first and foremost a novel I’ve written for myself. Like every one of my novels and drafts, it’s the sort of novel I wish was out there but isn’t.

As it stands, it’s a huge, sprawling, unedited mess about a guy whose lost everything, and proceeds to lose everything else, including his mind. I find it encompassing a lot of thoughts I have about self and spirituality, and goes places darker than I’ve written before. Through the process I’ve managed to drop three nukes, and destroy two worlds.

I’ve described it as were-romance without the were or romance, Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe if Azlan was on crack, and a far darker version of the Never Ending Story. What’ll actually come out in the rinse I’m sure will be something differently entirely. It’ll be a fun read once it’s done.

Getting out a first draft of 130,000 words (which is a lot longer than Street Dreams, which was 94,000) is certainly a test of perseverance, but it’s also about accepting mistakes and writing regardless. It’s about thinking ‘hmmm, that’s right, he’s meant to have a bung left foot’ but not going back to fix it. It’s about trusting that the draft will be a mess, but there will be a framework of a novel in there. And trusting that the idea is a sound one.

With this one finally complete I’ll be dumping it in the bottom draw virtually speaking, and starting almost immediately on draft one of another gay teen novel. Busy busy author. At least this one won’t be an epic fantasy.

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