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Novel Progress: First Draft FINISHED at 121,000 Words

The subject line pretty much says it all.

Just a few minutes ago, I finished the first draft of the novel I've been working on. The total word count is about 121,000 words.

In terms of manuscript pages and story chapters, my three-part structure has ended up breaking down as follows:

Part One: 183 pages (chapters 1-6)
Part Two: 225 pages (chapters 7-11)
Part Three: 75 pages (chapters 12-15)

So instead of having three acts of approximately the same length, I have a novel with a long set-up, an even longer middle, and then a quick wrap up at the end. (Come to think of it, that might actually work better.)

Of course, my work isn't done yet. The novel needs some extensive rewriting. For example, by the middle of the novel I had decided that my protagonist ought to be an orphan. This means the chapter where she has dinner with her parents needs to go. (Or, at least, I need to alter it extensively.)

Then, after I rewrite it, I have two or three first readers who have volunteered to give me feedback. Then I have to send it to my agent, and if she has any suggestions to offer I'd be well-served to incorporate them into the final submission draft.

But for now...for now I feel content to rest on my laurels, satisfied with a job well done.

If only it weren't so darn hot today...

Thanks to everyone who has been accompanying me on this journey. We've made it to the first plateau.
Tags:

Comments

Yay!

*dances*
Let me know if you need another reader?
Yay! Go you!

*\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/*

!
Congrats! Can't wait to read it!
Looking back, what an average of 10,000 words per month, month and a half? Nice!
Mazal tov! You rock!
Woo-hoo! Congratulations!
Wahooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!
Mazel tov!
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
Huzzah!
Awesome!
Congratulations!
w00t!

::big, squishy, congratulatory hugs::
Congrats! Now take a well-deserved break and let your brain recover.
congrats!
Part One: 183 pages (chapters 1-6)
Part Two: 225 pages (chapters 7-11)
Part Three: 75 pages (chapters 12-15)

So instead of having three acts of approximately the same length, I have a novel with a long set-up, an even longer middle, and then a quick wrap up at the end. (Come to think of it, that might actually work better.)


Actually, in the traditional three-act structure, the three acts are not expected to be of equal length. As a rule of thumb, the first act most commonly takes up approximately 25% of the work, the second act approximately 50%, and the third act approximately 25%. These percentages, however, may vary somewhat.

Your 483 total pages break down roughly into:

Part One: 183 pages (chapters 1-6) = 38%
Part Two: 225 pages (chapters 7-11) = 46.5%
Part Three: 75 pages (chapters 12-15) = 15.5%

This variation from the more usual percentages doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with the current structure, just that the current percentages differ a bit from the rule of thumb.

If your structure feels balanced and works for the reader as is, then all is fine.

If, on the other hand, the structure should feel unbalanced or if readers should say something isn't working for them, then you may find it useful to consider the possibility that your first act might benefit from tightening and/or that your third act might be even more effective were it a little more fleshed out.

The traditional 25%-50%-25% proportion is meant to be a tool, not a rule.
Forgot to say kudos on finishing the first draft. Well done!
It's not so much a question that the novel must have three acts of the same length; but that when I originally outlined the book, that was how I had planned it. Three parts, each part about 130 pages, to yield a 400 page manuscript or so.

So when Part One and then Part Two exceeded the 130 page length, I felt like an explorer who had gone beyond the map I had drawn for myself. Since I tend to be a writer who likes to have an outline for my work (I even outline my short stories), it was an odd feeling. I kept going back to the outline and rewriting it for my own peace of mind.

I have noticed that my style of writing has changed over the ten years I've been doing this. When I first started, I could barely get stories to last more than a few pages. In the past two years, I've become a lot more wordy than I realized, and I have had to cut stories down. I suspect that this novel will end up becoming tightened as I revise.

All that said, I very much appreciate the reassurance about my structure!
Wow! Mazel tov! And good luck with the revisions...
Whoo hoo! Congratulations!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

=)
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