First draft of The Lordless City complete

Finally! The first draft of The Lordless City is officially done. Weighing in at 157,000 words, it’s slightly longer than the first draft of The Unbound Man (154,000 words) but slightly shorter than that book’s published length (163,000 words) — which is to say that it’s right in the zone I was aiming for.

I’m told some people find first drafts the most enjoyable part of writing a novel. Not me. First drafts are hard. The process of translating the story in your head into actual words is long, laborious, and embarrassingly incomplete, at least to begin with. But the only way to write a good story is to start with a version that’s not so good. You can’t make improvements to something that doesn’t exist.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s some good stuff in that draft, stuff that I’m excited about and that I think you’re going to enjoy. The job now is to refine all of that raw story mass and shape it into a well-formed whole: to smooth off the rough edges, correct the balance of various elements, and make sure each piece is working as well as it can. And that’s what I’ll be working on next.

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