Tomorrow morning I catch a plane from Seattle to Reno for the World Science Fiction Convention— four days of soaking up wisdom from professional writers and editors, meeting lots of cool people, and in general having fun and reveling in pure geekery. I spent some time going through the program, marking off stuff I’d particularly like to do, and came up with over 120 hours of panels, readings, and various other activities I’d like to attend. This makes things interesting, since WorldCon is only 96 hours long. And that 120 hour number isn’t even factoring in time spent at parties, or just hanging out with friends. Or eating. Or sleeping.
It’s gonna be great.
In related news, my main goal prior to WorldCon was to finish the first draft of my novel In a Land of Wind and Sky, and today I did so. The draft is 176,902 words long, and it stretches across 642 pages in Microsoft Word. Since the time I wrote the first word of it (November 1, 2009), it’s been 653 days.
But to be honest, it feels a bit anticlimatic. There’s still a lot of work to do, and the line between where the first draft ends and the second draft starts is kind of arbitrary. For my own purposes, “first draft” means that I’ve built all the plot lines and character arcs from beginning to end. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re consistent. Sometimes the character’s voice changes from scene to scene as I experiment with different styles, or setting details are added midway through the story. Major plot elements are introduced and disappear as I try to decide what should be important and what isn’t, or change my mind about exactly what’s needed in order for different aspects of the story to be resolved.
In the second draft, my task is going to be to go through and make things consistent— support what needs to be supported, emphasize what needs to be emphasized, and take out what needs to be taken out. After the second draft, I think it’ll be ready for alpha readers.
But for now, I can head off to WorldCon, secure in the knowledge that if anyone asks if I’ve written a novel, I can say, “Yes.”
My flight leaves in less than 12 hours. Hmm… I should probably start packing.