Gra’s writing journal 2008 – final issue

Final Word Count: 85,413 – Stress-level: What stress?

Word 85,412 was “THE” , word 85,413 was “END”.

I think this is my best book.

And by “best book” i mean “finished.”

And by “finished” i mean… wait, let me start over.

Back when i was at Clarion, i was chatting with a friend of mine (*ahem* Neil *cough*) about a piece i'd written. It was fun to get all geeky about my fiction. But at the end of the conversation he said, “Well, of course your problem is, this is not actually a story.”

Sigh. I get that a lot.

In fact, i get it so often, you'd think i'd be inured to it, but no, those eleven words messed me up for three months. Every time i touched my electronic quill to electronic paper, i'd ask myself “is this a story? Is it? IS IT?!”

But i think this new book _is_ a story.

I mean, i think it is. I hope so.

It's a mess, of course, and i'm pretty sure the ending needs another 5000 words, but you know, in the same way i felt my brain rewiring at Clarion, i feel stuff starting to click around plot and story.

Gra learns.

Sure, yeah yeah yeah, i'm getting better at writing and all that stuff. But what i'm really figuring out is that it might actually be ok to slow down once in awhile, might actually be a good thing. Maybe i've reached the upper limit of how fast i can reasonably write.

I think i can easily write 2000 words a day (which might be a lot for some people.) I can output reasonable prose, readable scenes and characters at that pace.

But when i'm writing 4000 to 10,000 words a day (like a was in NaNoWriMo), i tend to write messy half-prose. Lot's of undescribed people walking around undescribed locations, thinking THINGS, but never saying them.

But now i see a bold, wonderful future where my first draft is less than thirty rewrites from my final draft.

A lot of people don't get the whole “Rewriting” thing. I remember when i finished my first novel, i told my mom and she asked, “So when will it be in stores?”


I'm surprised at the number of people who think the process for writing a book is:

1.) Write down whatever is in your head.
2.) Publish the unedited first draft and receive millions of dollars and adoring fans.

In reality, even though i really like this book, i think i have one solid rewrite before i even show it to another writer for critique. Then probably three or four rewrites before i'll even think of showing it to an agent.

Sigh. Such is the sexy rockstar lifestyle of the writer.

My new crazy plan is to get a critiquable draft to my first reader by Jan 1st and a second draft to other critiquers by Feb 1st. Sort of a Na – Get-Your-First – No – Out-To-Agents-In-The-Next-Three – Mo.

(Wait, didn't i say i'd try slowing down?) Anyway, never mind. Wish me luck!

Anyway anyway, thanks for all the well wishes and suggestions and offers of sympathy and wrist massages. I really appreciate every one of you.

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