Yesterday, after nearly eighteen months of hard work, I finished my latest novel, now tentatively titled ‘Root and Earth’. It’s been a fairly monumental task to get this far when combined with everything else happening in my life, but now it’s finally done.
Root should really have been finished at least six weeks ago – I had great plans to finish the edits before I moved house. That simply didn’t happen, both because of lack of time and my own laziness (apparently I don’t work well to self-imposed deadlines), so it took being settled into the new house for me to finally get round to finishing.
The whole process has taken, as I noted above, about eighteen months. I started planning the novel around Christmas of 2011, then writing the first draft in spring 2012. After a fairly full-on three months, I’d written both the longest and fastest first draft I’d ever produced. I dived into the first part of the edits straight away, spending a couple of months drawing up charts and spreadsheets, working out what changes I was going to make. With every chapter meticulously planned out, I then took a break.
A break which ended up being somewhere between six and eight months, in fact. During that time, I wrote a novella set in the same world and a second, completely different novella, as well as one or two short stories. Only the first ever saw completion and submission, working to an anthology deadline as I was; the rest remain in that place on my hard drive where unfinished stories go to die.
When spring this year rolled around, I decided it was take to tackle the edits on Root. Those meticulous plans were invaluable as I worked through the manuscript chapter by chapter. In the end, it was a fairly seamless edit, without the manic back-and-forth I usually end up doing. Whether I’ve completed a better edit than usual remains to be seen, but I’m fairly certain it’s allowed me to work better with continuity and character progression.
And so, as of yesterday, Root and Earth is as finished as I can make it. It stands at around 118,000 words, and is now ready for people to read and comment on. Getting to this stage has been both a struggle and a pleasure in equal measure, but either way, I’m supremely glad it’s done!