Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

And He's Coming Down the Final Stretch!!!

At least that's what it feels like. Isn't it horse-racing season or something? Kentucky bourbon and fancy hats? Show's you what I know of about that culture. My knowledge of thoroughbreds is limited to what I learned watching Secretariat, Seabiscuit, and Racing Stripes. *snicker*

But my post-beta WIP is heading towards the finish line. I've made it through the wild forest of debilitating partner-critiques and a massive rewrite. The second. A little perspective on this one: This marks the third calendar year I'm working on this novel. It's also the last. I should have been smart and let it go after one; should have chalked it up as a tremendous experience and accomplishment. It was my first novel. While spending a year in Iraq, I started with an idea and turned it into my 150,000-word opus.

Then I committed myself to learning the craft, joined a group and spent another year getting beat apart by my fabulous critique partners. I still had faith in the characters and plot from my creation, so rather than move on to something new, I took another stab. A year after that, my 150K opus was a 72,000-word YA novel a little more carefully aimed at my target audience.

But reality and a few friends slapped me back to reality. A couple of harsh critiques exposed some rather serious flaws in the plot. So back to work. For the last three months I've been hacking and slashing. Deleting poor material and replacing it with words more relevant to the core plot.

In the next week it will be done. I'm into the third act of the manuscript which survived the beta-round fairly intact. I'll get it done, do a final edit then move on to the queries.

But for Mason Ramsey (my MC) and his gang of friends, this is probably it. Barring some serious feedback from an agent or publisher that would lead to another round of edits, I'm retiring my beloved WIP. In the last several months I've had too many good ideas, and eventually even the marketplace will leave my novel behind. C'est la vie.

I'm ready for that, ready to move on. As I've been told by writers much wiser than myself, eventually you have to admit you've done your best and put it on the shelf.

Until then I'm going to enjoy this final stretch. Finishing a novel is like finishing a marathon. There's miles and miles of isolation and pain followed by that final high as the end comes in sight. In spite of all the mental fatigue and frustration, you still manage to get up on your toes and drive towards the finish line.

Okay, that's enough. Move on. Nothing to see here. Time to fire up some Daft Punk and get to #amwriting.


Danielle La Paglia said...

"I've made it through the wild forest of debilitating partner-critiques and a massive rewrite."

This is so true. And I must say, completing a first draft does NOT make you a writer. The writer is born or, more aptly put, forged in the fires of the rewrite. Once again, you and I find ourselves at the same crossroads. Watchers will get a final push and then it's time to chalk it up to a massive and invaluable lesson learned.

Rebels rule!

Falcata Times said...

Congrats on making it through the gauntlet Ken. As you've said there are times when you have to admit that you've done everything you possibly can and learned a hell of a lot. That doesn't mean that its a failure in any way shape or form, yes it might not sell but the learning that you've gained will stand you in good stead for your new project.

Thats what you have to remember when you put it to one side, the lessons, you'll also discover that it won't take so long for the second novel as you know some shortcuts from experience and with each project it'll improve.

Once again congrats for getting where you are and whilst you are a writer in all senses of the word due to your accomplishments its only a matter of time before you turn from that to published author.

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