Tuesday, December 22, 2009

First draft done, and I survived

I finished the first draft of my novel yesterday - I don't know how many words I wrote. It was more than 2,000 and the wordcount minimum shouldn't be an issue for the entire redraft. That's my usual process, to struggle and have crises and want to cry through the first, awful draft, then step back, see what I've written, and be able to write with a purpose through the redraft. I hate that first part. I *love* the second part.

Not that the second part is all downhill. I'll still hit key scenes that just won't work and will require major restructuring of the overall plot. I'll still have crises of faith where I look at how long I've worked on a piece and convince myself that I'm wasting my time and everyone will laugh at me when I send the piece out.

But over the last ten years, it has gotten a little easier. When I graduated from Clarion West, I wrote and wrote and wrote and sold nothing for five years, even though I could produce a short story a month. Now I write and write and write and produce even less - those short stories that used to take a month now take 3-5, because my awareness of their faults has been refined some. But, quite often they sell. Now I'm working on a novel that I believe in and that is not just artistically challenging, but fun. I don't want to sound too confident about selling it for fear that I'll jinx myself.

However my feelings for this novel are like the feelings I had for Time and Eternity - my Mormon romance. It was really, honestly, the best I could do. I was throwing my whole self, all my hard won skills and all my hopes and dreams for selling a novel into it, and it sold to the second place I sent it. That was the LDS market, which is much smaller and less competitive than the national market.

The last novel I sent out to agents for the national market got me quite a few personalized responses and even a request for a rewrite. Many who rejected it conceded that it was publishable and that I should be able to find an agent for it. Why did I quit looking? Because I didn't love it as much as I felt like I should, and the reason for that was because I'd held myself at a distance while writing it. I didn't want to get hurt when it got rejected time and again. This time I'm not holding myself at a distance, and so the submission process will be way more painful. I'll be more tenacious, though. I've put way too much of myself into this project to give up easily. I'll sub it to 50 agents if I have to, or a 100. This time, I'm going all in.

Friends of my husband may want to be extra nice to him this coming year. I'm conscious of not taking my stress out on him, but we're all happier when neither of us is stressed!

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