the printed first draft of pilgrimage, a novel by matthew wayne selznick

So this is what 94,500 words looks like! 2.25″ and 519 pages tall.

The first draft of “Pilgrimage — A Novel of the Sovereign Era,” follow-up to my 2005 book “Brave Men Run,” is finished.

I got a little teary when I wrote the last nineteen words. I got a little giddy when I told my girlfriend I was done.

This draft runs 94,500 words, give or take. Five hundred nineteen manuscript pages. It took forty five minutes to print, even with the printer on draft mode.

After editing passes by me, J. C. Hutchins and Cameron Harris, I suspect it will be shorter. No matter what, it’s still the largest single piece I’ve ever written. That feels pretty good.

Pilgrimage Statistics, Words and Numbers

I started writing the first draft of “Pilgrimage” on September 7, 2012. Four months, twenty three days, twenty two hours and thirty nine minutes later, on January 31, 2013, I wrote “THE END.” My first novel took one year, six months and twenty three days to write. “Pilgrimage” was written in a quarter of the time it took me to write “Brave Men Run.”

Does that mean my productivity will continue to improve at that rate and my next book will be written in 37 days? Not likely… but there is room to improve, as we’ll see:

The book’s sixty five scenes were written across 84 writing sessions, which means I wrote on just over 57% of the 146 days between the start and finish. My writing speed was, on average, 940 words per hour. My most productive speed was 1,550 words per hour; my least, 256.

Fully one third of the book — almost 32,000 words — was written in the month of January, when I wrote on every day save two. The least productive month was October, when just 12% of the total was completed. “Butt in chair” is not a lie, my friends. Except when you mostly write standing up, like me, of course.

What’s Next In Pilgrimage Progress

On Sunday, I’ll begin to go through the printed manuscript and do an editing pass for content, brevity, and clarity. Then, I’ll incorporate my edits into a new draft. I expect that to take about a week.

Then, the manuscript goes off to the content editor. He works his magic, I review his suggestions and incorporate the edits into a third draft.

Finally, the copy editor gets her shot at it. Once I get it back, once again it’s time for me to review and incorporate.

Once the manuscript is locked, the process of creating paperback and e-book layouts can begin. I can also begin recording the abridged, free, podcast edition. And generally get this baby ready for the world.

All The While…

While all of that’s going on, I’ll still be writing. I have a short non-fiction e-book to finish. The revised, expanded edition of “Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era.” And a new serial fiction project to begin plotting.

It’s great to be done with the first draft of “Pilgrimage.” But there’s still a whole big pile of work to do!