That’s what she said.
There it is. The final page of the rough draft of The Samurai and the Mountain. She’s going to be about 500 pages. And 103,000 words for now. That’s a decent average length for the novel. I’m glad the story fell into this range. At one point early on in the writing process, it was looking like it was going to be roughly 800 pages and I felt that was a bit hefty. But, once the backstories of everyone were in place, the story sort of fell in with less need for the already established depth.
As with any first draft, this is a bit rough around the edges. I’m not entirely happy with the final chapter. I definitely need to get in there and do some more work. That being said, I did start crying at one particular point in said chapter. I have known that part of the ending for so long. You know, roughly twenty years or so… as I’ve mentioned before this story has been around a while. Even knowing what was coming, It still got me a little emotional.
Last night, after I finished the novel, I did some digging and found various iterations of this story that’s been in my head. I was surprised to see that it dates back to 1999. I had no idea it had been that long. It began as a western screenplay, stealing Japanese archetypical characters… and it’s not good. I was pretty damn amateur back then. But there were some solid elements of the entire ensemble cast that worked very well and rolled over into an overhaul of the original story when I discovered an actual event known as the “Rock Springs Massacre” about a bunch of laborers who revolt and burn down a Chinatown shanty town in Colorado during the train building/mining years. Research led me to extend that story and I transformed my original action flick into a made for tv western miniseries. It’s a hefty script. I should probably go back and read it sometime.
Next came Ashio. The screenplay that took me to Japan. I took the same story as the previous version and discovered a nearly identical uprising in Japan during the 1880s at the Ashio copper mine. It then became a task for me to translate my western into eastern with aging samurai. It skewed the ages of my main characters and turned it into an Unforgiven style story. And that was fucking almost ten years ago? Where the hell did the time go?
Which brings us to the novelization of this story. After I finished my first novel, The Seven Isaacs, I immediately dove headfirst into this novel. I banged out probably one hundred pages in 2011. Then life got in the way. Resistance got in the way. One thing led to another. I was playing music professionally and the book fell to the wayside. Years later, as life began to calm down, I set myself to task to finish this damn thing. And that’s what I’ve done.
Am I happy of the work? Absolutely. Yet, there’s work to do. Throughout the entire novel. I’m sure I’ll end up adding in a couple thousand more words and probably another forty pages, but that’s all right. We will get there.
It’s in no shape for anyone to read just yet. For now, I set the book aside and let her simmer. Stephen King recommends letting a finished novel sit for six weeks before picking it back up to being the arduous task of editing. That’s probably about where it will fall. I plan on taking a vacation soon and finding other things to do for a while… (Primarily my reward to myself for completing my novel… and birthday present to myself)
I believe I will let myself get lost in Hyrule for some time. It’s well earned. It’s been a lon time since I’ve fallen in love with a game and/or a gaming system. Zelda is absolutely already doing it for me. It’s such a nostalgic turn and yet entirely new. It is a masterwork in video gaming. They should be proud of the product they’ve released, and I’m sure they are.
That’s all for now. If you need me, I’ll be in Hyrule/Mexico.