Victory! which in this case means: half way… but to where?

Wow, so my original goal was to write a book, of course.

I randomly picked the number 50K for my word count because it’s on the lower end of a respectable number of pages for a young adult book.  And I reckoned it sounded a pretty damn big number to me.  (Pretty Damn Big)  I mean, the longest thing I’d ever written before was a 60 page thesis a million years ago.

That famous treatise currently gathering dust at my old university is shelved under the title ‘History Misappropriated: The Deluge in Balkan Reportage, 1912-1919.’  Yes, read it and weep.

This fiction manuscript of mine; however, features nary a whisper of Balkan reportage.  Although, now that I think about it, misappropriated history does seem to be a common thread.  *secretive smile*

Well, today, after some grunting and groaning over the past week–one filled with turmoil and self-castigation–I can report that my manuscript stands at 52K.

And it ain’t done yet.  My story’s still only 2/3 told.

So what does 52 thousand words look like?  It looks like 242 pages of gobbledeegook, to be honest.  🙂  Hurrah!  Of those 242 pages, about 70 deserve a rather immediate axing, as the story’s taken such a wild shift from where it started.  I like to think it’s much better.  That said, I have to say that about 40 of those pages are so beloved to me that I’m thinking to save them for a future book, a very different one.  Either way, deleting all those first pages means I need to draft a new 15 pages into my beginning.

So I’ve got those pages, plus the remaining 1/3 of my manuscript, and then I’ll have a first draft to abhor and weep over, before the rewriting, revising, editing, strategizing, restructuring and complete overhauls that comprise working on one’s second draft.  (Or so I imagine.)  Then the third draft.  Then… 🙂

I have to say…  Writing a book takes WORK!!!  Ain’t nothin’ simple about it, other than there’s only one way forward, ultimately. Namely:  Start.  And keep starting every single day.  Regardless of how stuck one thinks one is, how confused, how overwhelmed.

Oh, and I violated my only writing rule (other than WRITE!) over the past two days.  I went back to the beginning of my book and rewrote parts.  And I have to say, it helped.  🙂

I no longer feel overwhelmed.  🙂

Wait.

Yeah, um, overwhelmed is not toooooooo far from the surface.  😉

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About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
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4 Responses to Victory! which in this case means: half way… but to where?

  1. Beth says:

    Congratulations on reaching the 2/3 point!
    I’m glad you know which pages to axe (on my first novel, I determined everything save the prologue had to go, and haven’t had the heart to rewrite). I definitely have the abhor and weep portion down.
    And then, of course, when you reach the last page…relax for a while. 😀

    Keep us updated on how its coming along.

  2. bigwords88 says:

    Writing anything is an achievement, so you should feel proud of accomplishing so much already. Don’t sweat about the rewrites, ’cause they’ll come around soon enough. Enjoy the process of creating the story first and foremost, then go through what you have written when you have enough distance from the manuscript.

    I’m cheering you on from the sidelines…

  3. ralfast says:

    I hate word counts. I find them meaningless, especially after the first revision. Right now I have a 50K word novel that is a novel but some people want to push into the novella category (and in the No Sale abyss). I mean I know people who love their word counts, and it’s great exercise (NaNo anyone?) but I don’t like them. But then again, that’s just me.

    Congrats on getting started. Hope everything goes well with the novel.

  4. sputnitsa says:

    Thank you, guys!!! I appreciate all pep talks about writing 🙂

    I am reminded of EL Doctorow’s quote about how writing is like driving at night with headlights–you can only see so far ahead the whole way, but that’s all you need. Is this supposed to be the scary part where the path wends through ravines and mountains and whatnot? Because I gotta tell you, I feel like it’s not a car but a plane, and in mountainous land!!! 🙂 🙂

    Beth–maybe you went too heavy on the abhor and weep part when you axed it all!!!! 🙂 🙂
    BigWords–thank you thank you!!! 🙂

    Ralfast–yours is a novel, dammit! You’d know if it weren’t. 🙂 On word counts–I started thinking I wouldn’t count since what matters is the story, then I went online and discovered there were ranges, so I should shoot for them. Now I’m back to the story again. Although I feel good pushing myself to write using any incentive. 🙂 Good luck with yours!

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