Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress

When I finished the first draft of my new novel back in September, I issued myself a challenge: Finish the second draft in 2 months.

As any of you who still follow this blog can attest--and as anyone who knows me in real life can certainly attest--the past 8 weeks have been spent either at the day job or writing that second draft. I have not blogged. I have barely emailed. Facebook has forgotten who I am, my Twitter account is adrift. Don't even start with me about letters. Go Fug Yourself has not been perused for fashion disasters, the cats of ICanHasCheezburger gambol in vain for my attention. New Yorker magazines pile up unread; yea, even unto the cartoons they are ignored. As far as the house goes...well, thankfully, none of us are allergic to dust. It's cozy here under my rock, is what I'm saying. And yet...

...I'm not done.

If writing this novel has a theme, it's me giving myself crap deadlines. Not that two months isn't a reasonable amount of time for a second draft. I picked two months because a) I finished the second draft of Ten Cents a Dance in that amount of time, and b) two months would make it exactly one year since I started the novel. What can I say? I like a nice round number.

What I didn't count on, this time around, was how much brand-new writing would be involved. All revision drafts include some new stuff. But thanks to an epiphany late in the first draft, the front end of the current novel needed some seriously heavy-duty overhauls. New scenes, new chapters. A whole new character. Not that I'm complaining, heaven forfend. On the contrary, I'm loving it. Loving the process, loving the results. Every writing day, I sit down at the computer with mug of white hot chocolate and am just stinkin' grateful that I get to do this.

So what's the new deadline, you ask? Ah, I won't say. I do have one. I'll let you know when I get there. One foot in front of the other, avoid the Slough of Despond, and I'll see you at the finish line. Oh, and here too, in the meantime. Cool stuff to tell you.


Sally Nemeth said...

Recently, one of the YA writers on the LA listserve asked everyone how long it took to finish a 1st draft. He'd sold a proposal and was in negotiations to set his deadline. The responses were generally 4-12 months, but one LAYA who writes at a feverish pace actually writes his first drafts in 8-10 DAYS. And they're GOOD. That pretty much shut EVERYONE up.

Christine Fletcher said...

Eight to ten DAYS?

My jaw doth hangeth open. I'm not sure I could type a first draft in 8-10 days even if it was already written and I was just transcribing it!

Excuse me, I'm going to crawl back under my rock now.

Melissa Amateis said...

I made myself a goal to get my first draft finished by the end of the year. Will I do it? I'm sure gonna try. But with the holidays and all, I'm thinking the end of January might be a better goal to shoot for. BUT! At least I HAVE a goal, right? ;-)

BTW, I've found that dust can accumulate for well over two months before I notice. ;-)

Christine Fletcher said...

Melissa, having a goal is KEY. Keep on chuggin', you'll make it!

Re the dust...I've noticed the same thing. :) The floors do have to be swept, though...or the dust bunnies will carry us off in our sleep.

Gabrielle Carolina said...

Dear Ms. Fletcher,
My name is Gabrielle Carolina, and I am the blogger behind The Mod Podge Bookshelf.
Valentine’s Day is huge for me, I love ‘Love’ and I consider this day to be more than Flowers, Hearts and Romance, even if that is what I have named my blogs Valentine’s Month.
This February I am going to have a big “to do,” a month long event where I review only YA love stories, and I have already roped a few authors into doing interviews, guest posts and contests.
I am planning to review your book Ten Cents a Dance for the event. I would be honored if you would participate, writing a guest post on Historical Romance and why seeing history through the eyes of two lovers makes the story come alive for the reader. If you would be interested in a giveaway, I would be happy to hold a contest for any signed copies of your books, or signed swag.
Thank you for listening to my ramblings, please know I will be reading and reviewing your book either way! J
This is my contact information:
Name: Gabrielle Carolina
E-mail: BellaCarolina33@aim.com
Blog URL: http://themodpodgebookshelf.blogspot.com
Mailing Address: 2143 Meadow Run Dr. Greensboro, NC 27455 USA
Gabrielle Carolina

P.S. I would have sent you an e-mail, but when I used your 'Contact' address, the e-mail bounced back! You may reply to BellaCarolina33@aim.com if you are so inclined

Andrea said...

Well, loving it...that's as good as it gets, as they say. Imagine the despair of people who write but hate the process.
I'm with you. Writing something is pretty fun. Rewriting is a whole new bunch of discovery, and that's what that curious little pilgrim craves, right?

Christine Fletcher said...

Andrea, you're right--it's the rediscovery in revision that I really adore. The chance to deepen and make connections I had no idea were there. So many days, I wake up with my brain churning away on new ideas... :)

Lisa Nowak said...

I think all writers should be given free housekeepers and cooks as part of their contract when they sell a book.

I hope to soon be as consumed as you have been these past couple months.