Monday, May 3, 2010

What The End Feels Like

The end of writing a novel, that is. I cannot begin to describe the exhilaration I felt when I typed those precious two words. Thirty-one chapters and approximately 60,000 words.


The End.


I will soon start editing. Some writers let their novel sit for a week or two, maybe three, and proceed to other writing projects—a few short stories, an article or two. Some might even start working on another novel. Other writers let the manuscript simmer for no more than a day before they start the editing process.


I didn’t touch my novel today. I didn’t start any other stories. Instead, I watched an episode of Ghost Whisperer, followed by Medium. Some great stories in those television shows. Perhaps tomorrow I will start editing, or I might decide to take the week off. I’m not sure when I will start editing, but it will be soon.


I know editing requires that I take a step back and read my novel as a reader, not as a writer. I must be willing to sacrifice sentences, scenes, perhaps pages, that do not advance my story, even if the aforementioned will knock the socks off of any agent, publisher or reader. I must make sure my writing is tight, utilize correct grammar and spelling, weed out useless adverbs, watch for repetition of words—the list goes on. My most important task, I believe, is to make sure my story engages the reader through the gift of showing. Show don’t tell.


I care about my characters and their lives. They are as real to me as my family, friends, next door neighbors (okay, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but just let me make my point). I must give breath, body and personality to my characters in order for my readers to see them as whole human beings. The last thing I want to do is create cardboard characters.


Now that I’ve written this, I have decided I will start the editing process in a few days. Most likely on Wednesday, for no other reason than it is the day after tomorrow.


The end (for now).

6 comments:

Jai Joshi said...

Congratulations!

Really, well done. There's nothing more satisfying than reaching the end of that first draft.

Looks like Wednesday's when the REAL work will begin for you. *grin* Good luck!

Jai

Jeff said...

Fantastic, Susan!

I just finished my second book. I'm hoping it doesn't turn out to be a "drawer novel" like the first one....

Congrats, kiddo. Remember us little people when you're famous!

Jeff C

Susan Littlefield said...

Jai,

Thank you! I know editing is the real work of it all. I know I need to make sure the plot is consistent throughout- and this book is double plotted, so that makes it double the work (ha, ha). I will need to cut, add, probably move around, etc.

I am reading Rennie Brown and Dan King's book Self Editing for Fiction Writers, which is a Godsend.

Yes...so much work ahead of me! Thanks for the support!

Susan Littlefield said...

Jeff, thank you so much! I know all about the drawer. I want to encourage you to take that book out and work on it, or submit it or do something with it.

That's wonderful you just finished your second book! Hey, you remember ME when you are famous!

Or rather, we must always remember each other!

Jai Joshi said...

Susan, don't let the editing worry you too much. Savour this moment of triumph and go get yourself some ice cream!

Jai

Susan Littlefield said...

Jai,

Thanks for the encouragement. I would love some ice cream...but, I'm lactose intolerant and don't eat sugar.

Alright...nice sugar free iced mocha then.

To Go Oxford....or Not

Do you use the Oxford comma or do you omit it? Some grammar sages say to either keep it or omit it, unless omitting the Oxford comma will...