Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fifty-Two Thousand Words, Two Hundred Pages

Well, the rough draft of In The Teahouse is finished. I came home from work yesterday with a fire lit under me and wrote about seven thousand words, finishing up with an hour left before bedtime. I spent this afternoon getting the formatting down, exporting the pieces into one .doc file using an awesome piece of writing software , Scrivener, that I've been using for a year or two now. I've never compiled so many pieces into one document before, though.

My first novel-length rough draft. This is a milestone, right?

Now comes the hard part, something that I’m simultaneously looking forward to and dreading - editing. Now, editing other people’s work comes easy for me. People ask me all the time to go over things they’ve written: papers, correspondence, memos, etc. No big deal. But now the tables are turning and I feel like I’m giving a lump of my own flesh out to people to hack apart and put under a microscope.

This almost feels more invasive than my yearly exam. Almost.

I need this, though. I know I need it, and I want it, but I hope the people I choose to read this end up helping. Nothing could be worse than giving out two hundred pages of direct imagination-to-paper daydreaming and getting nothing but one-word or one-sentence replies in return.

The way I see it, I’ve received rejection slips before, even the cruel form letters that editors use when they’re flooded but always end up seeming more like a personal insult than a convenience. If I can get through those, I suppose I can get through this. It’s what I need to make the second draft plumper and smoother, and unless I plan on putting this in a manuscript box and hiding it in my closet (which I don’t) it’s going to be touched on by other people’s eyes at one point or another.

Might as well be now.

In the mean time, I’m going to pick up some books on revision and plotting and go from there.

I am so glad to be able to read other people’s fiction again, too. As soon as I started this project I was hit with cravings for at least ten different books. Putting them off was agony.


Claire said...

Congratulations on finishing! That's wonderful. And so exciting!

I don't know if you're looking for recommendations for books on revision, but I really liked "Revision: A Creative Approach to Writing and Rewriting Fiction" by David Michael Kaplan. It looks like it's out of print now, but you can buy it used on Amazon very cheaply, or do what I did, and find it at the library! :)

Also, you've probably seen it, but this article about how to go about revising is very good:

Jessica Brown said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Right now I have several books on revision to read though, but I can always use more. Like I need another reason to go used book shopping on Amazon!