Thanks to everyone who offered encouragement as I wrote the final scene.
It meant a great deal.
Revised, the novel is 477 double-spaced manuscript pages. It’s 137,000 words. This is a lot, obviously. The average literary novel is supposed to be only 80,000 words.
However, many novels are much longer. Franzen’s Freedom is over 200,000 words. And works of historical fiction, and works of fantasy, tend to be long as well (my novel is a mix of literary, historical fiction, and fantasy). Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn novels are around the 200k mark, too, I believe.
And, I like to think, the story reads fast.
We will see: I defend the novel to my committee on June 24th.
This has been a wonderful and crazy five months of writing and re-writing…. Since the start of the year, I have been working on this book non-stop.
From Jan 2nd to the end of February, I wrote 40,000 new words to get to the end of the first draft.
In March, I tidied it up, edited it as best I could, and sent it to my dissertation director. At the end of March, he came back with a radical suggestion: cut two of the novel’s most important characters. I decided, after some painful deliberation, that he was correct.
My novel has three sections, three distinct stories, each set ten years apart (so the action extends from 1770 to 1791). In April, I replanned and rewrote the first third of the book, and then re-planned a largely new plot for the book’s second third. In May, I re-planned the third section, and came up with a completely new finale, and then wrote it all out.
In short: over April and May, two months of continuous work, I revised over 130,000 words of fiction.
This was only possible, I’m sure, because I am lucky enough to have excellent PhD funding, which allowed me to focus entirely on the book (I did not teach at all in the spring), and because I have a very supportive and talented wife, who did not mind my obsessive working.
Yesterday, I submitted the novel. I personally think it’s very good. Now, however, I wait for my defence at the end of June. If they like the book, I will have completed my PhD.
I hope, after that, you will be able to read the novel. If you like historical fiction, magic, architecture, unrequited love, mysteries, and Scotland, you might like this story.
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