I just finished my first draft of my very first novel: Merlin’s Blade, which is part of the Merlin Spiral.

The total word count equals ~ 152,500, which I intend to chop down as close as I can to 120,000. That goal is steep, though, and I’ll be happy if I can get it close to 130,000. I figure if I can condense away 1/5 of each page, I can do it without cutting any major portions of the plot.

The main thing is that I want to remove as many “bad check-marks” as I can for a first time novelist.

The Merlin Spiral

You might ask why I was 4 days late according to my last prediction? The reason is that as I wrote the most exciting chapter in the book, I slowed to a snails pace to make sure I did it right. Once I finished it, however, I sped up again and wrote the last two chapters in just under three days.

How did that “most exciting” chapter turn out? EXCELLENT! I am VERY pleased with it and it is a fitting and incredible end to my first installment of this EPIC TALE!

The interesting thing is that on February 22 my spreadsheet software nailed perfectly my predicted finish. At that time I was only 68% done, but it predicted I would be done today—June 15th.

Will I begin editing right away? No. I intend to let the novel rest while I work on my long-neglected website.

Just in case someone hasn’t read my post from last year about this new website, here are my plans:

What I would like to do with this website is to make it a “portal” of the top 20 or so other King Arthur sites on the internet. But I don’t want to do this like a search engine OR like an encyclopedia, per se. I want it to not just have links to these pages—I want it to allow you to VIEW these pages inside of a frame.

My goal is to make my environment “around” the viewed site so attractive and useful that you wouldn’t want to do it any other way. I want to organize, map, and link information together in such a way that you can easily jump from one topic to another and compare and contrast what different websites say on the same topic.

Users will have complete freedom to browse using my linking/mapping/tagging system or else by just clicking and browsing within the website they are viewing. Using Javascript I will be able to detect what page they will be looking at and adjust my display accordingly. If I have that page mapped into my system, then my links and titles will automatically refresh and be from the new page’s perspective. If the page they are viewing has not been mapped by my system, then the user can request that it be added.

Along with this, I am planning on a mini GIS system that will allow the users to view locations on a map and go to pages that talk about those locations.

I will be adding my own content with my own point of view. My pages will then be indexed just like all the other pages.

But the key is: All related to King Arthur! All on that one major topic!

My name for this concept: King Arthur’s Excalipedia… !


  1. Congratulations! I can’t imagine how relieved and excited you are having accomplished that. I know you have a lot of work ahead of you, but this is a huge step. I look forward to reading it some day.
    The King Arthur site sounds ambitious. I’m no King Arthur nut but I’ll give you my opinions along the way, if you want.

    Happy Father’s Day!

  2. Congrats on finishing your first draft, Robert! I know you aren’t ready to start editing it yet, but if you haven’t already purchased Renni Brown’s book Self-editing for the Fiction Writer… I’d highly recommend you do. For my first novel I wrote approximately five drafts. It is the rewrites that take the most work.

  3. Scott,

    Thanks for the congrats … and I just finished “Self-Editing For The Fiction Writer” while on vacation … excellent book with very good advice! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Five drafts? Hmmmm … maybe my decision not to go to the fall conference was a good one!


  4. Rob,

    Congrats on finishing the novel. The chief barrier to becoming a writer, I think, is failing to finish what you start. As you’ve learned first hand, carrying an idea through to completion takes time, patience and perseverance. So well done, keeping your nose to the grindstone and seeing it through. Best wishes on the revisions and beyond.


  5. LB,

    I have a list of about 70 to-do’s built up. Maybe I’m not really done until I go back and make those changes, but I’ll call that my second draft since I made it to the end.

    It is a good feeling, and I’ve been able to take a breather and catch up on some sleep!


Comments are closed.