Monday, November 30, 2009

More Than Ever Before

There was no fanfare, just Matt pumping his fist into the air and saying something like ‘woo hoo, that’s so awesome!’

The characters decided to kind of write themselves; a lot like life I guess. They just did what they wanted and made me tell their story. Which I was happy to do, it was fun.

As I finished the last line at about eight o’clock last night I felt no relief or huge exhalation of greatness or anything. That is mostly due to the fact that I know that I now have to rewrite basically the entire book through editing. But this is the fun part.

This is also the part I have become intimately familiar with over the past quarter century that I have been writing so it should be a no brainer; sort of.

All of my early journals are filed with stories that have lines crossed out and written over the top of, or they include circled paragraphs at the very top of the page, written as small as the type on a bottle of medicine to ensure maximum capacity, that trail long wavy lines indicating they should be inserted in other places on the page. My internal editor is ready and willing to tackle the next challenge.

I already know there is quite a bit of content that is going to be crossed out, not to mention the thousands of words that will meet their demise through the delete button. It is okay though, I fully anticipated getting rid of them even when I was writing them. That’s what the ‘Save As’ feature is for. ‘Save As’ draft 2 - Ripple the Twine is going to be well underway starting tomorrow.

Funny thing is I felt like maybe there would be some kind of let down or sense of loss inside this morning. Instead I slept until ten. I can barely remember the last time I did that but it felt good to wake up completely refreshed, knowing the bulk of these characters were purged out of my brain. Plus I slept great knowing I didn’t kill off the character I considered killing off a long time ago, they made it to the final scene. For now.

Once I uploaded the manuscript last night and claimed my shiny new winner badge I decided to hit the forums for a few minutes to read about other people who had made it through the proverbial rain. Turns out there were quite a few. One of the most interesting things I read was a thread where the poster asked how everyone’s families reacted to their win.

So many people made mention that no one in their circle truly understood what it meant to “win”. I could relate to what they were saying. Parents, siblings and friends of these people were saying things like ‘well if you don’t actually win anything, what’s the point?’ and the Wrimos who won simply let it roll off their shoulders. Because that’s what writers do. We develop thick skins that allow us to be present for the war but never impaled by the jabs of other’s daggers.

Or something like that.

After I wrote my final line I went outside to get a little fresh air for what felt like the first time in a month and I too was greeted by a whole bunch of nothing. Barely a car went down the street, no paparazzi were standing outside my door, no one chased me down the street for an autograph. But you know something? I couldn’t have cared less because for the first time in my life I could truly call myself a novelist, something I had aspired to be for years, and that alone was the greatest personal achievement of my life to date.

So what’s next? Well I feel so strongly about my characters and the content of this story that I do plan to edit the hell out of it a few times, hand over a copy to some friends and relatives for genuine feedback, rewrite it again and then get cracking on learning how to write a kick ass query letter because this one is getting published.

Then one of my other life long dreams will be complete, I can actually refer to myself as a published Novelist.


pastrywitch said...

First, congratulations, Novelist. It is a HUGE F'N DEAL!
I totally relate to the characters doing their own thing. I have been trying to get mine to the epic final battle for a while now, but they keep going off to do other things.. Maybe today they'll cooperate.
My dad was disappointed that the 'prize' wasn't something tangible, like being published. The free printed copy of the first draft just isn't exciting enough I guess.
But we know what we achieved. We wrote a novel. In 30 days. We rock.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Yeah we do!!! *high fives Kate for both of us rocking so much*

You know what's funny? The ONLY thing I've done today is read & comment on blogs. I have been jonesing for blogs all month, so much so that although I had a perfect opportunity to go back & add content or edit the MS I decided 'nah, screw it, let's see what's up in bloggyland'. I should be committed haha. Then again they did say December is for edits and that's not until tomorrow sooooo.....

Rosebud Collection said...

So proud of you Jenn..You will do well and I know it..
Sorry I didn't get around to wishing you a wonderful holiday, but really had quite the time..
Even if you didn't hear from me, know that you are always in my thoughts..xoxoRosebud.

Almost Precious said...

Wow, 50,000 words and now it's over ! You did it girl and we all knew you had it in you. I know just what you mean about all those "rough drafts", lines crossed out, asterisk marks leading to thoughts I wanted to insert. I've got a drawer full of them, but I never made it to 50,000 words, don't have one completed novel(published or unpublished). The prize is in the fact that you finished it, you persevered. I think only the heart of another writer, dreamer, philosopher could truly understand the glory and accomplishment of that.

Bree said...

When you get all published, I want an autographed first edition. :)


Joan said...

Congratulations! It is definitely a win for you!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Well, your writer friends know what a big deal it is to cross the finish line. Yes, there are alway re-writes, but you did it! Congrats. I can't wait to buy you book one day.

Suldog said...

Congratulations, Jenn! It's not something I'd ever subject myself to, but you said you'd do it and you did it. Great!

Bridgete said...

Oh PLEASE let me be one of the "feedback" people! You know how I love editing! And, like Bree, I want an autographed first edition when it's officially published.


Maggie May said...

Heck yes! You can do it. There are awesome books written about how to write a great query etc. Good job :)

Karen said...

Congratulations, Jenn and continued best wishes on getting this published!

Chris Stone said...

Congrats! that's wonderful! and you do rock! ;)