This is it.
It’s all over.
The Honeymoon has ended.
Looking back to the last scene, I was glad I drew the card I did (#7 Move Ahead Three Spaces). Because it didn’t tell me what to do. It let me end the story whichever way I wanted it to. It simply told me to just move on and away from the last scene. I liked that.
I liked that a lot.
I’m hoping I gave the impression that Sarah was acting out of her own agency (an issue many female characters face in fiction is that they’re reactive, or just doing what the plot needs them to do). In this scene, I wanted Sarah to push against the odds, against the status quo of her life and the narrative. However bad that might have ended for her…
I’ve learned a few things writing this story the way I did.
First, not having a detailed plan is fine, as long as I have a vision. Writing up an outline after creating the characters and their relationship really helped keeping things in focus. And while I ended up changing the original outline around a little, the overall outcome was satisfying.
I’ve also learned that it’s okay to not write every day (my day job makes that very hard sometimes), as long as I set a goal–any goal–and stick to it. In the case of this story, that goal was one 1000+ word scene a week, plus the initial brainstorm and the post-scene thoughts. I did my best to have all three posts per scene written and schedules before the previous weekend was over, but sometimes it was a lot hard than I like to admit.
Regardless, I stuck to my goals, and I’m proud of myself for it.
I learned that thinking about things out loud (or in my case journaling about them in the before/after posts) really helps, too. Having ideas in my head is great. Reflecting on them in a real form is better. Even if sometimes I didn’t use most or all of the brainstorm, it allowed me to gain perspectives and insights into character traits and narrative choices I wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
A thing I’d criticize about my writing is my attention to detail. Or rather, the lack thereof. While the narrative and writing itself is good, I have too many mistakes–spelling and grammar–that I don’t catch. I made a point of reading every post several times before it goes live. Of proof-reading every paragraph. But, as you can see, the mistakes become more frequent with every posts. Some of it is due to work becoming very busy halfway through the project, but regardless, that’s no excuse.
It is, however, a work-in-progress, and I consider every scene less than first-draft–first draft meaning the very first version I’d would normally show to anyone. Would I be writing the story by myself, you would not have seen any of these scenes in the stage you did end up seeing them. But as an exercise, I feel that showing it with all its flaws is an okay thing to do. As long as I can own up to it.
I also ended up with too many ideas, still. I was torn halfway through the story in different directions, and had a hard time deciding what to do next. The cards helped with that, but I need to learn a little more discipline and to stick to what I set out to do–not more and bigger and beyond.
I definitely felt that I grew as writer on this story. I love the characters, their flaws and strengths. And, in a way, I’m sad the journey is over. But I’m also relieved. Twelve (12!) weeks ago, the end seemed so far away, and I had doubts whether I see it through or not, or if the quality will be any good by the end.
Twelve weeks ago, all I had was this little chart:
And from it grew a cast of characters, thrown into the rollercoaster ride of their lives.
It was a success. I can say that with confidence. The story is messed up and wild, funny and sad.
Good job, writer-me.
In classic Fiasco fashion, I need to create a clean and simple Aftermath. Without boring you too much with the mechanics behind that, the aftermath is established by reflecting on the outcome (good or bad) of each scene in the form of rolling dice based on said outcomes. A simple mechanic, really, but if you don’t know the game, it’s hard to explain without the context of the previous steps.
Regardless. I did the work and figured out the context for each of the character’s aftermath.
What is it?
I’m not telling.
I have decided to make that part of the bonus content I’ll include in the e-book version of the story, which will be fully edited, spell-checked, and polished. Why the e-book? Because the story ended up quite large. As it sits right now, it’s just over 17,000 words (!)–that’s without the Aftermath and any edits to round it all out.
What’s 17,000 words? Well, it’s hard to pin down just how many words make up which sort of fiction. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about word count in fiction:
Novelist Jane Smiley suggests that length is an important quality of the novel. However, novels can vary tremendously in length; Smiley lists novels as typically being between 100,000 and 175,000 words, while National Novel Writing Month requires its novels to be at least 50,000 words. There are no firm rules: for example the boundary between a novella and a novel is arbitrary and a literary work may be difficult to [categorize]. But while the length of a novel is to a large extent up to its writer, lengths may also vary by [sub-genre]; many chapter books for children start at a length of about 16,000 words, and a typical mystery novel might be in the 60,000 to 80,000 word range while a thriller could be over 100,000 words.
It goes on saying:
Classification Word count Novel over 40,000 words Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words Short story under 7,500 words
Which is the closest I can find to an actual number. And that means that “The Honeymoon” might just end up on the low-end spectrum of a Novella.
Holy shit I wrote a novella. Isn’t that exciting? It took me twelve weeks, one scene per week, and a full story emerged from it at the end.
I’m stoked, anyways.
The e-book will be for sale on Amazon (for something ridiculously low, like 99 cents) and most likely directly here in other formats. Of course, it will be free for anyone taking part in my Patreon Campaign.
Thanks to everyone who read the story. I hope you enjoyed it.
Next week, I’ll be going over some ideas for other projects in similar fashions. I’ll take what I learned from this project and see what else I can do next.