After the announcement, I still had to complete the last 10 pages of the first draft. I did that on the night of 31st-Dec-2008. Well, here we are, looking at the first draft of my first novel, The Next Ticket. At 105 pages, it's not what I would publish, but this is a compelling start.
Dedication - Extract from the Novel
All my gratitude goes to the Almighty, without whose wish, nothing ever gets done.
All my prayers go to my Parents and Raghu, my Brother, for making me what I’m today.
All my wishes go to my Friends, for believing in me, and for all the good times.
The first draft of this novel is dedicated to my lovely wife, Shailu.
For all your sacrifices and encouragement with the first draft of my first novel through November 2008.
And most of all, thank you, for sharing the journey of my Life!
I even presented a printed copy to Shailu on our first Wedding Anniversary on 5-Dec-2008!
Since the time I could remember to read a story, I had a strong desire to write my own. The desire began burning when I went crazy having read the great Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park during Std. X at school. That was the point where I set my eyes on something as big, if not bigger. Until then, I wrote poetry, short stories, and plays.
Fortunately or otherwise, it has taken so long to come to this first little step today. As 2009 begins, I do hope it brings a lot of things alive.
Stop Thinking, Start Doing
On 4-Nov-2008, I stumbled upon the National Novel Writing Month 2008 (NaNoWriMo) and it did not take more than a second to sign up. My target was to scramble up a 50k-word novel in the span of 25-odd days, by midnight, Nov 30, 2008. I never met the target so far, but I made it over the 30k mark. Read more about it here and my author info. I was convinced if I had to get things done, I had to break and take on all my apprehensions. Like an IBM ad proposed, it was time to 'Stop Thinking, Start Doing.'
The blank sheet is a writer's biggest challenge and fear factor. I had to face that every time I sat down thinking about the next plot, scene, and character. I stuck the NaNoWriMo's motto in my head. I did not think hard, I just wrote whatever came to the tips of my fingers. Quality and caution was thrown out of the window. All that mattered were the pages, the words, and somehow fit them all into the broad scope of the story.
Tools and Process
I tracked daily progress, using Google spreadsheet. I wrote in EditPlus text editor, signed each page with time and date, and posted them on my private blog at http://sridharmachani.wordpress.com/ using Windows Live Writer blogging client. WordPress has a utility to export all posts with tags and comments in XML format, so I did that everyday as my backup strategy. Once I had the pages, I put them all into a Word file, checked for spelling and a bit of grammar, and converted it into PDF.
If you want to read the first draft, let me know. The catch is that you would need to review the book for readability, plot, pace, characters, and of course, the quality of my written language.
There is still a lot of work to be done. The whole thing needs to be rewritten. Characters and plots need to be realigned. Several rounds of editing and reorganization of the story will happen. Publishing comes too late in the game. Perhaps, it's again time to Stop Thinking and Start Doing.