Finally, finally, finally! I think I have finished the first draft of my novel. It took about 1 year and 5 months, but I got there. I started it as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) back on 1 November 2010. I decided to continue with the fledging story and finish it.
Now, I have to revise, revise, and revise some more, which may taken even longer than 1 year 5 months. I need to now make it readabe and flesh out the story. I need to connect the dots more and, more importantly, cut a lot. The word count now is about 255,000, which may be too long for a first novel. But I don't know. I love delving into in a meaty novel myself. I guess I just have to wait until the end of the revison process(es) to see how long it really wants to be.
One major thing I learned was that I am what is called a "discovery writer", which means I just make it up as I go along. This can and was quite frustrating since I don't know where I'm heading. I did make an outline, a couple actually, but I quickly veered from their well intentioned advice. So, I have no choice in the matter really. However, another thing I learned was that it is very important to know the ending before discovering the way to it! that was the most frustrating thing about this first stage in writing this novel, which by the way still does not have a title I'm completely happy with. I was near the end 5 months ago (orginal first draft goal was one year from start of the story - 31 Oct 2011), but it took me these 5 months to just figure out how the initial end would end up being. I know the ending will eventually change, but I really needed 'an ending' in order to really finish.
After a few touch ups here and there in the last scenes and maybe adding on an epilogue-ish scene to the very end during my Sunday morning café writing tomorrow, it is onward-ho to the next stage of revisions.