Today, I finished writing a novel.
A couple of people have asked where I go from here. What I just finished is the rough draft of Prophecy. It's in desperate need of revision (among other problems, it's rife with continuity errors that must be to cleaned up.)
But the very next thing I'm going to do is stop working on it. Actually, I'm not promising I won't do any more work on it. The "book" right now is scattered among 200 or so files of "chapters", and I want to put all the chapters together, in order, into one file, and do a word count on it. I stopped counting words in February or March, and I'm curious how long it's gotten. So I'll probably do that some time soon.
However, my focus for creativity in July will be "A Game of October", the online RPG whose first session will take place sometime in the second half of the month. (And I still need characters from koogrr and octantis for it.)
Still, some time before September, I'll come back to the draft and start cleaning it up. Some time before December 31, 2004, I will finish a "second draft" version. At this point, I will consider myself, really and truly, to have written a book. Er. Depending on how long it turns out to be, I may consider myself to have written two books by then. I set out to write a doorstopper novel and I have. The wisdom of this goal is yet to be determined. :)
The second draft will be offered up for feedback to whomever among my friends is interested in seeing it.
Depending on what sort of feedback I get and how I feel about the book personally, I may or may not do further revisions, and ultimately submit it to a publisher. I don't intend to self-publish it, either in print or on the web, so if I don't submit it to a publisher, or if it's not accepted, the world will most likely never get to see it.
I haven't decided what my plan of attack for the revision will be, or how I'm going to approach my next project.
The Master Plan(tm) served me well, in the sense that I actually did finish the *&(# draft. However, I did spend an awful lot of time resenting the yoke of it. I won't be going back to the "words per X period" system for measuring my progress. I may go back to the hours-per-month model, which was much less stressful for me when I switched to it for the first five months of this year.
But overall, I was happiest with my approach in June, which was so unstructured I can't even describe it in words. My goal was "finish it" and I didn't make any formal sub-goals or otherwise hold myself to standards of how much progress I needed to make in any given day or week. Nonetheless, I worked fairly steadily, doing a lot of writing on the weekends and occasionally some during the week, without angsting too much over it.
So in 2005, I will most likely implement that sort of approach on my next project, which will probably be "finish Silver Scales".
But for now, I'm not going to commit to anything. Instead, I'm going to bask in the glow of having finished the rough draft.
Oh, and do some laundry.