Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You mean you haven't finished your book yet???

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Happy December!  And I can't believe I'm saying this, but it looks like the first completed draft of my YA manuscript will be finished this month.

Yes, really.

However, this is just the beginning.  Don't get me wrong, I plan to take a night off and celebrate the accomplishment, but it will be back to work the next day.  There is still lots of work (and many drafts) to be done.

It recently dawned on me that a lot of people do not grasp the undertaking of writing a novel, especially one you hope to see professionally published.  Yes, many have supported me since I started this journey.  I have some pretty awesome cheerleaders, and even more awesome beta readers.

At the same time, a lot of people can't understand why I'm not finished yet.  To them, I've worked on it long enough - what the heck is taking me so long?

It's not that easy.

I've tried explaining what it means to write a novel - that you have to revise, edit, take breaks, go back, reread, etc. etc. etc.  That it takes dedication, time, and committment.  That writing is done in solitude - it's an activity that doesn't permit a lot of socialization or interaction, and the creative process has a cycle.  Some days, the juice refuses to flow.

Unfortunately, without ever attempting the task yourself, the best frame of reference you might have is a long research paper.  Most people write for school, and most who write for school do so the last minute.  Writing a book is different.  There is no "pulling an all-nighter" or "asking my teacher/professor for an extension."  There is no extra credit and no grading curve.  Can you tell I was a teacher?

Then, when the book is finished, or at least once the writer is confident about the piece, you learn how competitive the field is.  Cue querying, rejection, and disapointment, because it happens to everyone.

Yesterday, I happened to stumble upon this video from David Kazzie.  It is FANTASTIC (and he made it himself).  Aside from being extremely comical, it really highlights what it means to write a novel, as well as how publication works. 

If you are a writer or aspiring novelist, you have to check it out.  If you are curious about what I've been doing the past year, and what lies ahead in my journey, this is the best explaination you are going to get.  It should answer all your questions (much better than I can...)  Enjoy!

P.S. It's very late.  I apologize for any issues in the above post.


  1. That video was fantastic! "But I'm the talent." Haha. Good post :) - Michelle

  2. That is the funniest thing I've seen! Thanks for the laugh - always good before I open my email and find another rejection :) My first novel took a year to write and another year to revise. And yes, it is nearly impossible to explain to people that writing is (so much) more than the "awesome idea". Good luck and keep writing. I know I will!

  3. Roberta, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a very cathartic moment for me as well. I have to say, I'm impressed you put a manuscript together in a year. I'm entering my 16th (and hopefully final) month, though I haven't gone straight through, which could account for some of the delay. I just want to get to the editing stage already. Good luck to you as well, and thanks for commenting.

  4. ah, ordinary people who live around schedules and agendas, will never really understand people from the world of arts :)

    congrats on the manuscript.

  5. Paul, I am nearly step for step with you! This post is me all over. My first YA novel's first draft is complete (started a year ago). I call it a first draft, but I constantly edit, so it's like the 20th. I am doing a rewrite at the mo. Hope to be done with it in the next 3 months. Great post. Glad I found your blog:)

  6. I love the video. It's so true though. So many just don't have any clue how much work it takes to create a polished manuscript.

  7. When I taught, I always thought some of the best lessons were those disguised with humor. I'm glad you all enjoyed this video as much as I did. Thanks for the comments!


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