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I think this would be a rad book cover. I’m totally this guy right now: A dopey-grinned, coffee-drunk, cartoon penguin. Mmmmmmmm.

I have finally finished the…let’s call it…the Landing Zone draft. The one where you know the story is finally in place. For me this one took three false starts. I’d get 45,000 words or so into it, and think to myself, nope, I don’t really care how much my main character has suffered. This is not right! I’d think on it for days, weeks even. Then I’d start again and go for 45,000 words, and the same thing would happen. Again for a third time, the same thing. Apparently for me, the fourth time is the charm.

How long did it take for me to get to this point? Well, I wrote this post back in October of 2009, indicating I was starting to put some pieces of the plot together. So that’s fifteen months. Present word count: 50,500. That equals 200 pages on the mark. It’s actually slimmer than I’d envisioned, so maybe when she’s all polished up, she be a little fuller. And if not, that’s fine too. I’m happy with her.

It’s always a bit strange, and a lot of fun, to go back to my original notes, and see how far I’ve veered from that original path. Maybe some day I’ll start a section of posts called Manu-scraps, to include deleted scenes from drafts of young adult books and ideas of where I thought I was going, and why it didn’t work. It’s also strange to think how much the manuscript will continue to change once agents and or editors begin to get involved. But this story–this draft–is mine for the moment. It’s the story I want to celebrate having finished! So, you’ll pardon me while I walk around looking befuddled and in love for a few days, right?