Sunday, January 8, 2012

On Completing the Novel

I have written 4 novels beginning to end. 1 is shelved. 1 is undergoing a massive revision and turning into 3 novels. 2 more are collecting dust until I get to them.

What happened?

Between 7 and 10 years ago, I wrote 3 novels. Back to back, it took me 3 years-ish. And then I thought “I need to get the first one critiqued.” The group made me think I had left too much out.

I underwent a massive rewrite. I had a falling out with the group. 2 years later I founded a new group. They told me lots of wonderful things. I made superficial changes.

Then I reread it with a critical eye.

The whole thing did not seem to be what I wanted it to be! My characters, the plot, the world--it needed help. And the characters were still there, nagging me. So back to the drawing board I went.

They say once you finish the first it is easiest to write another. But sometimes life tosses a wrench in those plans. For me, as many of my posts illustrate--life is about finding balance--and that balance is as important for my revised drafts as my rough.

This time, I know what foot I’m starting on and I know how to answer the even harder question--

What do you do when you finish that rough draft?


  1. I start in on revisions within a week, even though you're not supposed to. But I takes me so long to get the first draft down on paper. I enjoy editing so by that time, I'm excited and ready to run.
    My critique partners have made many suggestions but very few went against the heart of my story.
    If writing the second is easier, what do they say about the third?

  2. Often when I write any form of fiction, which so far has been mostly short fiction, and I have several first drafts of several stories I'll just revise whatever I'm in the mood for at the time. Kind of like writing the first draft of that story idea among story ideas in your head.