My reading list grows exponentially. Everytime I read a book, it'll mention three other books I feel I have to read. It's like a particularly relentless series of pop-up ads.
-A.J. Jacobs

Monday, November 29, 2010

Annnd Done

So after my plot epiphany, I mapped out the characters, finished outlining the major plot points, and then sat down and well, you know, WROTE.

The story was all down on paper and embedded in my mind, and after writing it almost all the way through one time and being unsuccessful, I knew what I didn't want to happen.

I turned off my inner editor - something I've NEVER done before and just wrote. I'm talking hardcore writing. My loverlies (Tina Lynn and Kristen) and I bribed each other with pics of Jared Leto amongst other things I shall keep a sekrit.

My fingers nearly bled, I typed so fast and furious.

I didn't even go back and reread what I had already written to gauge how it was sounding because from previous experience I knew that it either a.) would read like a NY Times best seller that might as well be already on a shelf (in my glory moments) or b.) was made of suckage and needed to be rewritten immediately (does See Spot run count?). And either way, I knew it was a skewed way of looking at things, so I decided to write with abandon.

I put a song on repeat (I swear I listened to a song 27 times in a row) and glued my rear to the seat (with the occasional potty and mint chocolate chip breaks. Not simultaneously, you freaks.

And I wrote. I wrote the whole thing. It's a middle grade, so it's totally doable to write a book in a week, especially when it's well plotted (the thought!). But the amazing part to me is that I started writing this book last year.

When I told my daughter that I was going to finish the book last night, her response was: "You shoulda been done a long time ago. You've been workin' on that stinkin' story since I was in kindergarten!" (She's only in the first grade this year...)

Wow. Thanks for the support. LOL. But she was right. One day this past week I wrote 12K in one sitting, when the most I had ever written was 2K at time. The writing with abandon was freeing.

My first draft was finished at midnight last night and clocked in at 38K.

And now I'm here twiddling my thumbs. I so bad want to jump right in and reread what I've written. To see if I wrote 38K of junk or if it makes sense or if it is all a bunch of gibberish.

I know I should wait. I want to wait. But I don't.

Would it be so bad to do a quick once over and read it all the way through and THEN let it sit for a month before editing and revising?

You guys tell me. When you finish a rough draft, what do you do? And how long do you wait before you delve back into it?

Someone might have to tie my hands behind my back, because I'm guessing it'd be hard to revise a book with my nose.

25 brilliant remarks:

Summer Frey said...

Congratulations!! That's ridiculously impressive. My best stint in one sitting is only 8k, and for me that was torture!

I have to let something rest for a long time after I write. Usually I've written myself into all kinds of tangles, and I need a few months to think about them subconsciously. For instance, this hot mess I've created for Nano will be getting the shelf while I whip out my novel from LAST NaNo--yep, a year of rest!

Whatever you do, good luck!

Tina Lynn said...

Should I send Jared there to tie your hands behind your back?

Melissa Hurst said...

Yeah, I'd love to see Jared tie your hands. *snicker*

Windy Aphayrath said...

That's fantastic! 12K in one sitting, I bow down!

I usually have so many other projects going on in my head that once I'm done with something, I leave myself a minimum of one month for it to sit, but usually I don't go back to it until I've hit a wall or finished the next project.

Anonymous said...

Stephen King says six weeks of break from your WIP. And we all know he's right about everything, yeah?

Congratulations on finishing! :D

Tiffany Neal said...

Thanks to all you fabulous peeps.

And yes, please. Send Jared. To tie my hands now.

Must. Stop. Thinking. About. It.

Hands. Are. Shaking.

And yes, Stephen knows everything. So, I will go with something like that.


Or maybe at least wait until Christmas break. That's 3 weeks. It's a middle ground, and since I'm writing MIDDLE grade, that should be just fine, right??

Unknown said...

Congrats on finishing the draft! Woohoo! I tend to listen to the same song on repeat too. My husband thinks I'm crazy, but it works!

Our first graders will have to meet up and be snarky together! Kylie likes to remind me that she can usually write a book in a day. Sheesh.

Christopher said...

I'm in awe of you. Makes me realize I need to get off my ass (or on it?) and get to writing seriously.

DL Hammons said...

Bazinga!! Great work. Usually I push away from my desk and don't feel like returning for at least a month, but you should approach it in a way that feels right for you. :)

Unknown said...


With SPITFIRE, I read it once before shelving it for a while. I meant to shelve it for a month, as per the usual wisdom, but I couldn't. I broke down after about a week.

And you know what? That worked for me. I knew I'd still have revisions to do once I got beta feedback, but a week was really all I needed.

When you feel like you're ready, you are.

Unknown said...

COLOR ME IMPRESSED!! Oh, you are just so awesome!! Hurrah for epiphanies!

I finished my draft of my first book in Sept, and just picked it up and read through it for the first time this past weekend... parts made me laugh because they were so bad, but wow, the clarity after taking two months away was amazing. And now getting back to it is even better!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Aw, that's super!! Well done, Tiffany! So exciting to finish this book you started last year! And so fast! I love that you gave yourself the permission to just run with it. And look where it's gotten you! DONE!

I say go ahead and give it a once over, but also grant yourself the permission not to go back and fix everything. You might catch some really obvious things, but I wouldn't fix much. After some time sitting on it, you will likely decide to change story elements, and then you'll end up undoing stuff you fixed. But you know, even if that happens, I don't think it's wasted time. Every moment you spend with your manuscript is a learning moment. I've chopped hundreds of thousands of words (literally) from one manuscript--months worth of writing gone with well placed hits of the delete button--but I learned so much from that time I had spent with it and I'm a better writer for it. Ended up shelving the manuscript, but I know I'll get back to it someday.

So, if you do go back and reread right now, I don't think you should feel too bad about it. Just make sure you take a moment to CELEBRATE!

Kristen said...

Well, I am made of suckage. This is how behind I have been on blogging. i am JUST reading this now. You are amazing for finishing, I am so proud of you. And I will send you a million Jared pics if you continue to keep PB resting... besides...we have a collab to work on ;) maybe that will distract you. If not I can send Jared and Ian in 5,4,3,2.... *snicker*

-blessed holy socks said...

Wow. You also are utterly gorgeous (I had written to a woman who matched your features - utterly gorgeous). Mama mia...

You're a writer? Cool shoes. Me, too (kinda, sorta). I know for a fact, however, you gotta whole lotta intelligence behind those two ears, girl; thus, I wanna give you my finite existence: to intrinsically value the Great Beyond which I’ve learned to appreciate, to visualize the fundamental reality of infinity is why I‘m here for a teeny-weeny amount of time. Looky here...

Precisely why I had our ‘philanthropic + epiphany’ (=so much to give + vision): wanna see a perfectly cognizant, fully-spectacular, Son-ripened-Heaven?? … yet, I’m not sure if we're on the same page if you saw what I saw. Greetings, earthling. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s Big-Bang’s gonna be like: meet this advanced, bombastic, ex-mortal Upstairs for the most extra-groovy-paradox, pleasure-beyond-measure, Ultra-Yummy-Reality-Addiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-ass, party-hardy, robust-N-risqué-passion you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-smmmokin’-hot-deal enveloping, engulfing us. Cya soon, girl…

Cindybin said...

So this is you? Here you are a mother and writing all this nice, decent stuff, and yet you "liked" a mean, profanity-filled tweet made to me on Twitter just because I spoke up against profanity?? SHAME ON YOU!

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