After eight mentally exhausting years of loss, gains, ups and downs, and sheer doubt in myself and my skills, Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor’s ROUGH draft is finished.
screams into the day
Twenty-eight chapters. More than the first book. But the word count can put people off. Why is it so low compared to Mana Pool’s combined 120,000-ish word count, you ask? As I said, it’s a rough draft, not the final. The draft has full narrative chapters and scenes, but the rest has bullet point plot lines, dialogue, and narrative clips I could only write down in my jagged mental state. The dialogue is so broken every character sounds the same. Character motivations are broken; no reason why they do what they do from the plot. The first-person POV switch method from the first book is back, so I need to balance out to narrative. In some cases, the characters are complete idiots with raging temper tantrums. If this was a Nanowrimo novel, I cheated and dishonored myself with just bullet points.
And I’m okay with that.
This is the rough draft. Not the first, second, or even the final. Nothing in the world is written as the final draft unless it’s a quick tweet or half-assing an essay for school twenty-four hours before its due.
looks at the mirror
I’m not a professional writer. Still an amateur and still learning the craft, the business, and myself.
These eight years writing that draft was like stainless steel nails (outside and inside events) against a college chalkboard from the seventies (my mind). There were times I could write, and most I couldn’t. Whether it was losing family members to death, moving to a new town, having my first “real” job sucking my creative energy out, or the constant, anxiety-driven clusterfuck of social media and Cheeto-Dust-Face’s breaking news every day hammered so much uncertainty into my mind, numbness was all I felt. It came down to do my day job, get my paycheck, and panic from uncertainty until sleep. And that is excluding the pandemic and lockdown.
And then I had a panic attack last summer. It lasted for four hours in the morning. Haven’t had one since, well, eight years ago at the hospital. A hard wake-up call.
Shoving that aside, the rough draft is in my possession, and for the first time, I feel free. I’m taking a break for a week from any writing. I want to feel normal for once.
So what’s going to happen when the final draft is complete, or when? Good question.
Traditional publishing is still out for obvious reasons. Self-publishing the novel like Mana Pool is also out since I have no editor yet. So now it’s back to basics: serializing it.
I need feedback. Want to know what works in the story and what doesn’t when it’s sent directly to readers. Need that confidence boost and knowledge where I am skill-wise. My idea is to publish a chapter a week on my website, but more places such as Tapas. But when the first chapter drops is still undecided. This is just the beginning of my publishing plan. Need to do the work first.
But then there’s DeviantART.
Let’s face it, DeviantART is not for me anymore. It was fun at the beginning. That’s where I built my first audience. Their choices with announcing and forcing the Eclipse UI into everybody’s eyes last spring was terrible. It’s ugly, it doesn’t have all the features I’ve grown used to, and posting stories and journals feels clunky, even for people who don’t know how to use the new formatting tools. PDF uploads are an option, but it collides with the PDF view placement and dark mode when the doc is pure white.
So, posting the chapters on DeviantART is out. I’m sorry but that’s my choice. It’s a risk to lose that small audience, but not an issue to restart my writing life on new platforms. Maybe try Medium as well, or restart my Patreon. Who knows.
For now, I’m taking a break from the draft, drink a rum and Coke, hike in the park tomorrow morning, and try to relax for once.