Friday, March 31, 2006


Few words can thrill a writer more. Those two single syllable words can bring on waves of relief, ripples of excitement and for those who are hesitant to submit to an editor – pangs of nausea. It means that a manuscript is finished. The first draft at least. Revision will no doubt come, sometimes taking longer than the original draft to complete, but you’re there. Your story has a beginning, a middle (my nemesis) and an end. Whether you’re a plotter that has followed the outline to the letter or a pantser that lets the story go where it will, getting to the finish is an accomplishment all on its own.

I finished my third book this week. I’m on Cloud 9 about it. I still have weeks of revisions ahead of me, but that first draft is written. Really, since I write in first draft format, if I hadn’t gotten a revision letter a couple weeks ago, I would actually be done. It was really the silliest thing. I have a stop and start style, but I was really starting to chug toward the end of my story. After I got my revision letter, I started getting mired down in the details. She said to do this, take out that, add this… and I kind of got paralyzed by the whole thing. I’d revised the first 5 chapters over and over. One of the playfriends recommended I just finish the story, then go back and start revising. So I did. Struck with inspiration, I sat down and wrote 30 pages in two days. The last words being “THE END.”

Whew! Now I know how my story really ends. I had a general idea from the synopsis I’d written, but once it started flowing, it ended a little differently than I had anticipated. Non-writers will never understand how this could happen, but the story just evolves. You sit back and look at the screen and say…well – that’s better than I’d planned. I like that!

The joy is always short-lived though. Now that the first draft is done, you move on to the next step. Get those revisions in, get the word count up, write that scene you skipped, get it critiqued and polished and back out the door. I’m tired just thinking about it. And of course, you know that the minute you deliver that baby to the post office, you start thinking about the next story. You have to be working on SOMETHING so it’s a constant cycle. I’ll readily admit that I’m not really sure what my next WIP will be – I guess it depends on how this one goes.

What was the last thing about your writing that made you giddy? An AHA moment, perhaps? A contest win? A good review? Maybe the completion of a scene you’ve agonized over? Share your happy writing moment with the class. :)



Linda Winstead Jones said...

Just yesterday, I discovered why a minor character was present in my WIP. I thought he was an insignificant guy, and then I'm writing the scene and -- Oh, that's why he's here. :-) It really is a giddy moment when the story takes over and that happens. I love the giddy moments.


Playground Monitor said...

I have to admit I got giddy over that envelope from True Confessions. Since I have 3 other pieces plus a query with them, every time I see a white business size envelope in the mailbox, my heart does a little jump thingy. Of course, no envelope also means no rejection, right?

Congrats on "The End."

Problem Child said...

I've been giddy for a while now.

Believe it ot not, sending my WIP to the shelf made me very giddy.

But today I'm giddy becuase I figured out how I'm going to fix that problem in my ms for the revision. YAY!


Kathy said...

Congratulations, SP, on finishing your ms! You must be on cloud nine.

Way to go, PC! I knew you would be able to come up with a way to fix your ms. Keep up the good work!


Angel said...

Just this morning on the way back from taking Drama Queen to school, the first scene in my next book started playing out in my mind! I quick grabbed my handy tape recorder and start talking.
It feels so good when that happens.


Rhonda said...

Personally, I delight in the Aha! moments the most--that's the part that makes the writing fun--but I absolutely CHERISH getting finished. (So big congrats, SP! I finished a project today and am brain-raped, but energized. And only a writer will get that comment. :-)

Have a great weekend on the playground!

Instigator said...

I know I'm chiming in late but congratulations on typing THE END, SP! I know how hard you've worked to get to this point.

I think my favorite writing moments are when everything else fades away but the story.
Like last night. I sat in the van in the gymnastic's parking lot while my Darling Husband took Sweat Pea to her class and watched Baby Girl while she played on the gym equipment, editing my story. As I'm reading, tweaking, pulling scenes in and taking them out I got lost in the story. Completely lost track of time and was really surprised when my family showed up outside the van. Those are the moments I love. When I know everything's clicking.