Beginnings and endings

I finished the second first draft of the novel at about 12:15 and I’m sad.

I’m surprised that I’m sad. I mean, I hope to work on it again here in a few months. But there was something so fierce and wildly beautiful of this whole initial making process that I don’t think revising will quite recapture. And I have this crazy fear that it will never happen again, that I’m a one-novel wonder and I’ve drank my full share of this cup. Like I said, it’s crazy. I’m fairly sure there are other novels inside of me, waiting to be born.

You know, I feel like I’ve suddenly been thrust into withdrawal. Creating this was intoxicating and addictive and I don’t think I’ll ever have enough. It wasn’t like you might think, with flurries of impassioned, frenzied writing. It was more like slow and steady drops of something wild and awesome and wonderful that drip, drip, dripped into my veins for the last 9 or 10 months and that I’m cut off from now. Though I don’t think I’d just inject it if I could…then I wouldn’t have the final product, just the feeling, and I don’t think it would be the same.

So what do I think of this, my 88,111 word baby?

In some ways, it’s very much a first novel. I don’t exactly know the words to describe those ways, but it sounds a lot like the descriptions I’ve heard of other people’s first novels. I try to remind myself that that isn’t good or bad, it’s just true. Since it is, in fact, my first novel, I probably should be too upset that it seems to act like one.

I also know my project was ambitious. That excites me; I don’t think I’d have finished it if it weren’t big and gangly and interesting. But I do wonder if the writing and the structure and all of that would be better if it were smaller and easier to tie up. Again, it’s not good or bad, just true. The novel that came to me was ambitious in scope.

There are some technical things in it that I’m fairly sure need work. I think that will always be true. The fact that I’m aware of at least some of them probably gives me a leg up for revising when I do a technical rewrite.

I used “really” a lot. And “said.” And started lost of sentences with “I.” And I’m not sure I chose the best point of view.

In my deepest, darkest heart, I’m not sure it holds together. Do the several stories really work together in the end? Should I focus on one? What if none of them make sense without the others?

So I guess I have more questions than answers. Though whatever happens with the novel isn’t so important as that there is a novel and that I wrote it. I’d love for people to find love and God and themselves and beauty through it, but even if they never get the chance, it’s still there, doing it’s darndest to pulsate with all those things.

What’s next?

I’m taking a couple of months, at least, away from it. I need some time and space to get a little perspective so I can go back and jump into the serious task of editing and revising what I’ve got.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to have at least a few people read it.

Speaking of that, I know that at least a couple of you out there are interested in reading it. You told me, once. Unfortunately, I don’t entirely remember who you are. So if you told me you’re interested in reading or if you’re newly interested, I’d love to have your opinion. Leave a comment or send me an email. I’m not sure when I’ll be getting back to you (depends on how I decide to timeline all of this, if I want everyone to read it at once, etc.), but I’ll definitely put you on my list.

I know this is a caveat, but if you want to read, know that I give it to you with full permission to dislike it, to find it boring, to think I’m not a good writer and I’ll never make it in that world. I want truly honest responses, so you can feel free to be yourself in what you tell me. And it won’t change the fact that I care about you and want God’s best for you.

Anyway, I’m going to have a few people read it while I take a break. While I’m on break, I’ll be studying various people’s ideas about what makes good fiction. Once I’ve assimilated people’s responses and the information on technique, I’ll go back to it and see what I can do.

After that, I have no idea. I suppose it depends on where things are then.

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6 Comments

Filed under My Days

6 responses to “Beginnings and endings

  1. Congratulations, Sarah!

    What a feat. And I could really hear the sadness in your voice here. Kind of like you’ve experienced your own kind of birth, no?

    What I enjoyed most about this post was watching you chronicle your thoughts on this experience and what you think of the finished product right here, right now. It felt like a journal entry that set down your thoughts in the moment so you wouldn’t forget in the movement forward of days.

    And I, for one, would love to read this one. When you shared with me what it is about, I flipped. It sounds really, really good, Sarah. You were brave with this one.

  2. Sarah, congratulations! I’m awed by the fact that you’ve put your self into this for the past 9-10 months and birthed a novel. Your first novel!
    I would love to read it, if I may. đŸ™‚

  3. As much as I love the energy of the first draft, I’m coming to love the revisions almost as much. Maybe more. Not the proofreading and all that stuff. But seeing how I can make this character better or fit the story together better. It’s becoming more and more fun.
    It’s like music. There’s the sightreading, then there are the hours and hours of learning and perfecting and putting it all together.

  4. Christianne–totally like birth…well, given what I know of birth, since I’m an expert and stuff. And you’re on my list.

    Ingrid–You may…also on the list

    Heather–I’m not a musician, but I’m hoping I find the truth you lay out here…hoping, hoping, hoping.

  5. please put me on your list!!

    wow. congratulations, sarah. it’s extraordinary really, to think of all the things that are on your plate and completing a whole frickin’ novel in the midst of it. that’s utterly extraordinary!!

    that’s about all i got. well, that and just a whole lotta respect!!

  6. Kirsten, you’re totally on my list. I don’t really know how to respond–I don’t feel extraordinary. In fact, I feel like the novel is sort of what I do to survive the rest–my place of rest, even of prayer in a strange sort of way.

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