Monday, July 15, 2013

The Joy of The End... for now at least



Ah, there is no more wonderful feeling than typing The End. Even when I know that this silly book is going to continue to cause me pain and suffering (and sweet potatoes, this one caused episodes of abject whining and moaning already) it’s still nice to put the damned thing away for a little while.

I haven’t shared the title of this little gem, but since I’m about to toss it into the revision stew to let it simmer for a while, I thought I’d give it a touch of love as I start to practice pitching (seriously though, it’s a rough draft, so it’s just not ready for anything).

Title: TO SING DOWN THE SKY
Comparison: If you took Captain Jack Sparrow and put him into a blender with Avatar: The Last Airbender and hit frappe, you’d get this story.
Pitch (this is super rough, so feel free to comment):

Tashira grew up in a world where singing is punishable by death. The only people who sing are the sea priests, ancient descendants from the guardians of the seas, and tasked with keeping the world safe from the Kryannians, monsters who live in the depths of the oceans. When the priests arrest Caven, a young man serving on a cargo ship, Tashira begins to doubt the sea priests’ propaganda. When the sea priests burn down her home and send giant mud crabs to kill her, Tashira knows something is wrong with the priests. To get her answers, she defies the priests and sings. When her song calls down a storm, Tashira knows that the sea priests are lying and she’s something the world hasn’t seen in generations: a storm singer.
Now the only problem is staying alive long enough to uncover the other lies the sea priests have raised her on, and the biggest is waiting at the bottom of the sea.


Yeah, like I said, that’s really rough. It needs a lot of work, but so does the draft.

Stats (because I love numbers)

Date started: 4/1/2013
Date ended: 7/13/2013
Time off (for good behavior): 21 days (you know, to start a new job, and interview, and work on another project… normal stuff).
Number of days writing: 84 (commonly known as 12 weeks, no really, it’s uncanny).
Average number of words per day: 881
Number of times I whined about how much it sucked: Yeah, I can’t count that high, I’m busy toasting the end of a rough draft here.
Number of Shiny New Ideas that tried to tempt me away: 2
Number of words I plan to cut when I get back to this draft sometime in December? All the words.

So there you have it folks. Start to finish, one rough draft. How do I feel? Well, it always feels great to pound out the words “The End,” but I can honestly say that this was one of the hardest books to write ever (I say that every time because This Is the Hard Part). The whole time I could see my failings as a writer while I was writing it. It was strange to see it as such a terrible, flawed thing. Usually, when I write a rough draft, it’s a fast and easy love. All I want to do is work on it. This one saw me questioning everything about it: Is this good enough? Was Act I long enough? Did I include enough description? Too much? Is the dialogue good enough? Does my non-native speaker sound to much like he’s from India? Does he sound british now? Oh god, shoot me before my pirates start saying “shiver me timbers.” 

Okay, it might not have gotten that bad at the end, but I would definitely call that draft an over glorified outline. It’s going to gain about 20K in new material alone. Then I’m going to rewrite the whole thing. Yeah, I talk about efficiency because I have none. ::shakes fist at sky:: Process, why are you so lugubrious?!

And there you have it, Too Much Information. How about you, do your first drafts feel like they’re written with Umbridge’s pen, using your blood as the ink and scribing the words on your soul? Or are you a happy go lucky writer for whom first drafts are all kittens and rainbows? I used to be kittens and rainbows writer, but not anymore.  

19 comments:

  1. I love the title! This sounds really good! Congratulations on finishing the first draft!

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    1. Thanks! Titles and I have a long and storied history to indicate that I sort of completely suck at them.

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  2. That is so cool. I've never tracked my stats that way. Hmm, maybe I shall with my new WIP...

    GREAT WORK!

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    1. I started trying to keep track when I realized that I always started moaning about the same thing at the same place. Now I know it's just part of the feels that go along with writing. Stats are how I cope.

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  3. WOOO!!!!
    And the my current WIP killed me for the first half. It was so so so hard to write and i thought it was all crap and that i was a failure. But then when i finally went back to it t start revisions it wasn't bad. It was actually really good. So all that hard work of it being a dick totally paid off. And i'm sure that this one will for you too!

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    1. I'm really hoping all the hard work pays off. These things take forever while we're busy paving the road with our tears. So yeah. We'll have to see how things go, but fingers crossed.

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  4. I think the only "rainbows and kittens" writers are the ones who've just finished their first draft of their first novel ever. ;)

    I have two books I've completely rewritten, beginning to end, and one that organically came together as magic with only minor revisions. I'm afraid to go back and look at it. As far as WIP's though, I'm 60K in, 20K from the end, and excited to resume--post roadtrip.

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    1. I think that too, but then I meet people who've written tons and still are all rainbows and kittens. It always--ALWAYS!--makes me feel like I'm defective. And Yay! 20K from the end is where I feel like the story is a train with too much momentum to stop.

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  5. Congratulations. As you know, I just finished my draft too, but mine was number 3 or 4. Typing The End at any stage is great because it gives you time to reassess. I'm impressed with your 12 weeks time frame. I dream of being able to write a first draft that quickly - it would make things far easier.

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    1. You know, novels are different for everyone. The twelve weeks it takes for me to write it then gets combined with the 12-16 weeks it takes to revise it. I literally change every word (sometimes more than once). I have scenes that get rewritten upwards of six times. For me, the key to drafting is to promise myself that I'll come back to it in revision. Otherwise it would take me a year to write a first draft.

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  6. Those two words = great accomplishment! Even if you have to go back and review and edit, writing those two words is excellent because no matter how good a book is, it can't be published if it's not finished!

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    1. Oh, Leigh that's really sweet "even if..." Nope, I'll have to rewrite the whole thing. Every. Single. Word. But I can't do that until I know how it goes, and that's what the first draft does for me.

      In the meant time, I may need to ship crates of tea and chocolate to the editing cave, cause I'm gonna need 'em.

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  7. love the idea of singing being so...bad. i'm a huge music lover so i would love to read this!

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    1. I'm totally into music, too. I seriously considered going into music professionally, but it wasn't the "safe" thing to do (turned out, neither was the safe thing!).

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  8. A scolding is coming...

    That is an excellent blurb...sounds like an exciting read...and you finished in twelve weeks?! I am totally wishing I was you! And you call it a glorified outline? Humility I can accept, but you being mean to my friend Rena is completely uncalled for.

    Just sayin'. :)

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    1. You know, I actually do have rules about the sort of language I let my evil inner voice use. Having said that: glorified outline is a compliment. This is the bones of the story, and it needs some flesh. No deprecation, just the facts.

      As for the 12 week thing, I don't start writing until I'm obsessed. See, I don't suffer from madness, I use it to my advantage!

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  9. so glad you shared that!!
    i love it! its new & exciting & has singing power!

    keep going!

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    1. I had to share it or people might still think I was writing my April Fools book: WHY SO GRIMM, KITTY?

      I just couldn't let that stand.

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  10. My first story, which I'm still editing, BTW, was probably like kittens and rainbows, since I had no idea what I was doing at the beginning. My chapters were more like synopses. Which is probably why I've spent the last couple of years revising it.

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