It’s been a long road but I’ve finally made it to a major milestone for my book: the first draft of The Burning Ash is complete. After all the bumps along the way, approximately one and a half years later, it’s finally done. Battling depression, trying to maintain a decent balance between work, YouTube, blogging, and my book; it’s all been a lot to deal with but I am so happy that I’ve reached this point. I’ve settled into the flow of work now and barring any surprises, I’ve got that under control for the next few months until I need to start applying for jobs again. My YouTube responsibilities have also become less what with the smaller output for HellfireComms, and I’ve done the sensible thing of cutting down my blogging to one post per fortnight. I have given myself the personal goal of clearing some of my massive backlog of films, games, and books, but that’s much easier to be flexible with. So, now it’s time to focus on editing and polishing The Burning Ash so that it’s as good as it can be. This will undoubtedly be a challenge as it’s where I stumbled last time. I’d finished a draft, gotten some feedback and then I just couldn’t seem to make a dent, then I went to university and the draft was abandoned. This time, I cannot allow that to happen. I’ve only got just under two years to make my dream of getting a book published by the time I’m 25, so I best get on with it.

So, what’s my plan for this grand editing bit of the process?

While I am certainly going to go through my novel, fixing all those pesky typos and trying to sort out the bits of the novel that aren’t working, I know that I am not the most effective at dissecting my own work. I may have a degree in analysing literature, but with my own work I’m often too close to it and just need that helping hand to point me in the right direction. I’m going to attempt to take a step back when I’m going through it, but I know it isn’t always possible.

So, while I’m going through sorting out the small bits, I’m going to send over copies to a small group of friends and family to have a look over. Since nobody has seen the book since either its early stages or at the half-way point, it’ll be nice to see whether I have improved naturally over the course of the book or whether I still need a bit of a guiding hand. Either way, it’s going to be a particularly frightening period as it will be the largest number of people I’ve ever given access to my novel and it should be a good enough indication of whether everything I’ve been working towards has succeeded. All I ask is that the friends and family who give the book a read be entirely honest with me. If something is rubbish, they need to flat out tell me and explain to me why it isn’t working. With all of that feedback, I should be able to cut out what’s unnecessary, flesh out what needs expanding, and tighten up any bits that are nearly there but which might need rephrasing.

It’s a massive undertaking, but one which I hope to have done by the summer. I know that the process of trying to get a book published can take a long time and ultimately, I shouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of self-publishing should the initial plan prove fruitless. Because that process of publishing can take so long, I need to give myself the time to work at that and so I hope to edit my novel as efficiently as possible. Most of the hard creative work is done now, it’s all just a case of making sure that original vision has come true and if it hasn’t, making it come true.

So, here I am nearly a decade after starting my journey with the kingdom of Ryushima (originally Ryuanna), Hideki (originally Koda), and Princess Rosalina. It’s all coming together now and I’m very proud of what I’ve managed to achieve so far. Whether it’s any good or not is a different matter altogether, but I am very happy with some of the moments I’ve managed to create. Hopefully, in the end, I’ll be able to look back at this process and see that it was all worth it. In my heart of hearts, I know it will be, but I’ve got to make it through editing first. So, wish me luck. The first draft is complete but now I need to move on to the second and the third and however many drafts must follow. All I really know is that I want to keep writing. Always.