So You Think You've Finished Your Novel?

I mean, I have finished a novel. I’ve finished a lot. Thirteen, now, to be precise. But in the two days since I wrote THE END on SILVER KISS, I’ve already started to mentally map out all the things I need to revise, so I guess it’s not really finished. So far my mental list is something like this:


1. Oh no, Characters X and Y have exactly the same speech patterns!
People will accuse me of poor characterisation AND THEY’LL BE RIGHT!!!

2.
The ending is kind of lame. I’m not very good at winding down books
into happy, well-rounded conclusions. People will accuse me of writing
unsatisfying endings AND THEY’LL BE RIGHT!!!

3.
Is it long enough? Could I maybe add in that scene where K sees A
beating up O? Man, everyone beats up O in this book. A beats him up a
lot. Maybe K could see A beating someone else up.

4. Is the pacing in the second half okay? Will people accuse me of rushing AND BE RIGHT???

5. Are the funny bits funny enough? Will people accuse me of lacking a sense of humour AND BE RIGHT???

And
so on. Basically, I’m a bag of nerves, especially since my writers’
group will be giving me feedback this weekend. And it’s not that I’m
afraid they’ll tell me it’s a steaming bag of crap or anything… But
you know, you can’t rule out that possibility. And once they’ve given
me their feedback, the real revisions begin. Suddenly you’ve got all
these different perspectives on your novel, and people who think A
shouldn’t beat up anyone, let alone O, given that O is just a kid and
hitting kids is, you know, frowned upon. Or telling you that your
beautifully crafted opening scene is dead weight and you should start
at least a page later. And so on.

So
then you sit and separate out the useful feedback from the random
feedback (I myself am an accomplished random-feedback giver. My
critiques are generally full of such insightful comments as
“NOOOOOOOOOO!” or “ha, forest of suicides FTW!”), and start killing
your darlings in order to produce (hopefully) a sleeker, stronger
manuscript.

Now me, I
could happily write nothing but first drafts and never revise any of
them. I used to. The first six novels I wrote were unmitigated rubbish,
but I didn’t have any desire to make them better. It was enough to have
just written them. Can’t do that anymore. SILVER KISS is contracted for
publication, and that means I have to edit it and revise it and do
everything I can to make it as shiny as it can be. And that’s why
typing THE END means nothing, and also why I shouldn’t have stayed up
until after midnight watching Shaun of the Dead.

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About naomijay

Writer, philosopher, secret ninja
This entry was posted in Work in Progress, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to So You Think You've Finished Your Novel?

  1. Anne Lyle says:

    It’ll be fine – you’re just having post-first-draft nerves đŸ™‚
    Remember, Hemingway said “The first draft of anything is shit”. And revision is what separates the pro from the wannabe.
    You can do this…

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