Digging into the Old Stuff

As some of you know, my first “novel” is an epic tale that covers six months in the life of  a woman my age, several thousand miles of travel (by car), a mental breakdown and loss of everything she held near and dear.

That’s why it took me 175,000 words and two years to complete.

I’m not exaggerating.

It might be weighty but it’s far from finished; in fact, you could say in its present state, it’s downright scary as to how bad it is. A few months ago, I dusted it off and tried again. I couldn’t stomach reading it, much less working on it.

The storyline is good. The premise is valid. The characters are likable/unlikable. This massive, wordy work in progress has more flaws than my first few boyfriends. (Hmm… make that my first twenty boyfriends.)

I didn’t know jack about writing back then. I still don’t know much, but I know enough to be embarrassed about this work.

I remarked to a friend of mine who has seen the first chapter in all its horrible splendor that I couldn’t believe she read it without puking. She was kind and suggested that she didn’t throw up, but I could tell she was lying.  She had to be.

After taking an online writing class and having a live critique group to go to, I decided to give it another go. I know pages and pages will have to round canned, and I don’t mind.  So with renewed vigor, I worked on it Friday, eliminating the first 72 pages.

Seventy-two pages? Yeah, I have plenty behind that, believe me.

The good thing is, I have most of the story already written down, so the slice and dice should leave me with a reasonably sized novel.

I have a feeling it won’t even be painful.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi! I really identify with where you are. My first novel was a disaster the first time around. The final product is good but still too long. Lessons I learned were fully incorporated into the second novel from the get-go.

    If you have a minute to check in with my blog (launched last November 4), there might be something in there that’s helpful. I talk about the editing/revision process a lot, so scan through to find those points.

    Let me know if you stop by. I’d love to have a conversation. All the best. –Cheri

  2. I admire your stick-to-itiveness. And I look forward to reading it.

  3. Good luck with your project! Cheers!

  4. Hi, Joanne, I’ve searched and searched for your email and am beginning to feel faintly stalkerish. Write to me!

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