This is the first draft of my current work in progress. To me this is a vision of wonderfulness. It’s one of those things, where once it is all printed up, you can stare at it and say “I did that! Holy crap.”
Like I’ve said before I have never felt this good about a project. And I haven’t even begun to edit it yet. I also have never looked forward to the editing process. I usually find it a detestable, annoying, drawn out pain storm. I’d rather sit in a dentist chair strapped down with barbed wire, than edit.
However this time is different. I can’t wait to get this ball rolling.
And I think the reason is very much in sync with the link I posted yesterday of Cristian Mihai’s blog, and the quote from Tennessee Williams as well.
“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.”
This work in particular is the most honest work of fiction I’ve ever completed. This book is a part of me. This book is me summed up in 140,000 words. It has everything I am poured into it’s black and white pages. It could never be separated from me. (note: It’s a metaphor, it’s fiction, and the main character is not me. The whole book is me.)
And that’s why seeing this manuscript laid out before me, is much akin to seeing my soul laid out before me. And for the first time starting to understand it.
This is wonderful, it hits the nail right on the head.
I began writing in my most vulnerable years. I was dumb and arrogant, as most teenagers seem to be, and I did my best to pour greatness into every sentence I wrote. But I was also lying to myself, writing about what I didn’t know, pretending to know, and I got caught and people could see that I wasn’t willing to let them in – I was building this wall to protect my true self from anyone who would be searching for it behind my words. There was nothing that belonged to me in the stories I wrote.
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Since I finished the first draft last Saturday, and after getting over the whole black hole nonsense, I’ve been itching to start editing this book.
Problem is, I need to give it some time to rest. Well at least that’s what they all say. I guess it’s supposed to give you a fresh start, clear your mind, cleanse your palate and what not. I believe I am only going to give this piece a week though.
So Sunday I start edits on this monster.
One disappointing thing about finishing this project is that I finished the novel before I got my 50,000 words into campnanowrimo. What I mean to say is that I started part three of this Novel, at the same time that nanowrimo started their summer camp dealio. The problem was that part three didn’t quiet make it to 50,000 words.
What do I say to that…Stuff it, I don’t really need Nanowrimo to tell me I’m a winner. It’s the work itself that is going to decide whether I’m worthless, or mediocre, or a winner. So only time will tell. Here is a good blog post by Chuck Wendig called 25 things you should know about nanowrimo. This article pretty much takes nano and grounds it into the real world.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Nano for a few reasons.; It did help me with the day-to-day grind of getting it done. It pushed me to try to meet the daily deadlines. And it was kinda neat seeing the progress graph. Seeing what my work patterns look like in graph form. I mean come on, who doesn’t like a good graph. You can prove anything with a graph…
“If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it.” Tennessee Williams
WordPress just threw this quote at me, and I think it pretty much sums it all up then.
For those of you who understand what it feels like to hit a home run, you will get this concept easily. For the others I will try my best to explain.
I play a lot of softball, well not a lot, not nearly as much as I would like to. I also happen to be a power hitter, which means that when I’m healthy I tend to hit a lot of home runs.
There is a feeling when the ball hits the bat. It is a feeling that you know it’s a big hit. It’s a feeling you get that this is probably going to be a home run. It’s hard to explain other than It just feels right.
Well, I happen to have that very same feeling about the book I have just finished the first draft of. Now this is an entirely new feeling for me. The last full novel I completed was really not very good. And this is the attitude I have about much of my writing.
But this one feels different. It has a very similar feeling to connecting with that 12 inch ball, and knowing that there is no way that anyone is going to catch that. It’s out of the park.
Who knows what this actually means. I’ve been wrong many times before. But then again I’ve never felt like this about anything I have ever done before.
I still have a lot of work to do on it. But I’m not terribly worried about that. I know I’ll do it. I’ll get it done, and continue to move it forward.
I would tell you about it, but I’m not ready yet. Sorry, another writers irrational insecurity.
Until next time.
I have been working for 5 straight months on the first draft of a novel. I finished that first draft yesterday at around 4pm. The total word count came out to be just under 140,000 words equaling 482 pgs.
My initial reaction was extreme excitement. This lasted for about five seconds.
The next feeling I had was irrational disappointment that I had not reached my goal of 150,000 words. Now, I do at least recognize that this is a ridiculous frame of mind, but I can’t help feeling how I feel. In a way these types of feelings continue to drive me forward, or “keep moving forward” like I quoted the other day.
The worse thing was that being a “penniless writer” (to quote another movie, hey what can I say I like cheesy movie quotes) I had no money to go out and celebrate. I won’t even get paid until Monday. Now some day I may look back on this and think that that’s rather funny and ironic. But for now it just kinda sucks.
Still I have to say that I was decently satisfied with myself for finishing this modestly large work. Though I know I have a lot of editing to do. I also need to wait a week or two to let my mind settle before I can start editing.
So today I woke up with a massive black hole inside of me. Why? Because I didn’t have that piece of fiction waiting for me to come home and work on it. I have been doing the same daily routine for five months (time permitting of course). And now it abruptly stops.
It feels like someone has clenched onto my heart and ripped it out.
Right I know this is depressing. But it’s how I feel.
The next question I would assume anyone would ask is, “Why do you do it?”.
Because I love it. Not the feeling of my heart being ripped out of my chest. But the feeling of accomplishment. The knowing that I have a huge chunk of manuscript sitting on my hard drive, and backed up in three different places. A manuscript that hopefully in a few months time might be ready to send out into the world. The idea that I will be able to share this with others.
That’s why we write. Because it calls to something deep down inside. We all have something to say, and writers need to say it with written words. And when it’s taken away it is like losing a family member.
So now I have this black hole that I need to fill. What am I going to do about it? I can’t start a new novel yet. I don’t want to start a short story for fear it will turn into a bigger novel.
Well, I think I will just blog, and then maybe go for a long bike ride, and go to the beach. Why not? I could use the excersise after sitting down for so long.