Friday, April 29, 2011

A Bittersweet End

I finished my rough draft titled "The Ghosts Between Us" on this past Wednesday. 

This was met with a curious feeling. I was glad to be finished, but I didn't have that elated this-is-the-greatest-book-EVAR feeling either. It was more like, "Well, that's done for now."

I didn't get on the Internets to Tweet and blog about how I finished. I actually waited a little while before I mentioned it on Twitter, and even when I did I felt a little guilty. Because I knew I wasn't done-done. I mean, yes, the rough draft was done, but that was just one step in a long journey.

Having been through two grueling revisions, I knew in no uncertain terms what lay ahead of me. Revision. Both fun and nightmarish. So while I was happy to be done, I knew it was definitely "for now." Major emphasis on the "for now" part.

At first I worried there was something wrong with me, or worse, the book. Maybe my lack of jubilation was because I broke the book and my subconscious knew it. But after speaking to Liz, she reassured me that it's totally normally. As she put it, "you're stopping for a glass of water while climbing up a mountain." 

Yeah, that's exactly what it feels like. I am taking a break from "The Ghosts Between Us" to revise the rough draft I finished a few months ago, "The Heart's Remains."

Then it's back to "The Ghosts Between Us", and like the ghosts in the book (see what I did there?) the mistakes and plot holes I created will come back to haunt me. But that's okay. The really awesome thing about revision is it's your do-over button. You constantly get to say "re-do" until you get it right.

Which might be the greatest thing about writing. 

What about you? Do you always feel excited when you finish a rough draft? Or have you always felt somewhat deflated?


  1. I would feel extremely excited if I could finish a stinking rough draft. *If* being the keyword there. But I doubt it would ever be as good as the first time (what things are, really?). That first time I didn't know about revisions and I didn't see the plot holes. I was just thinking, "I wrote a BOOK. A whole BOOK!" I was elated! Experience has tempered that joy.

    Now the joy will come when you see that book end up on someone's shelf, because that's the real finish line. :)


  2. Hmm, I've felt both. The good news is you finished a story! Better news? You're smart enough to put it away for a while. Who knows, when you pull it back out you may find something in it that does make you excited to dig into revisions. If not, all writing is good practice.

  3. Never ever ever feel guilty for celebrating accomplishments. I do a happy dance whenever I finish a 3-page essay for class, whether I finish it 5 minutes before it's due or days before. (Let's be honest, it's never days before). So yeah... acknowledge that it's not done-done, but then party because you've at least reached a checkpoint. They're important too!

  4. Tara: Yeah, that's what I was thinking. But now it's like, "I've written books before, now I need to edit those suckers." Which is what I am doing. :D And I am sure you're going to get there.

    Charity: that's true! I am smart enough to put it away for awhile. I have another rough draft to whip into shape, so that helps.

    Liz: Yeah, that's true. I should do some sort of celebration. :D

  5. Any time I finish anything, I'm happy. Congrats!

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  7. Oh man, you guys are making me nervous. I am totally riding that "first rough draft ever" high right now. It's like most things in life, where it's easy to get jaded and complacent, but I agree with Liz, you totally need to celebrate- even if you can still see the mountain ahead, you should be proud of getting to the water tent. (Can you tell I've never climbed a mountain? There's probably no such thing as a water tent, right?)

  8. I had to feature you in my Friday Faves meme today. Because... you're awesome. :) <3


  9. Roxy: Yay! Yes, I was happy. But I was also not as crazy-happy as I haven been before.

    Liz (Wannabe): Don't be scared! You ride that first draft high for all it's worth! It could be I am just getting jaded and cynical. I just wanted to make sure other writers have had the same thing happen to them, because I was afraid I broke my writing muscle.

    And I've never climbed a mountain before either, so I am totally with you. They have water tents, right?


  10. I think this title has a little more punch to it. I like it. I keep trying it without the "the" at the beginning. It kind of works. It kind of doesn't. I think it may change the meaning too much. Still, thumbs up. And I've said in multiple venues, congratulations. Finishing a first draft is always a big deal.

  11. Joe: Thanks! I think I am sticking with this one. It sort of alludes to the things I want it to (ghosts, dealing with death, paranormal stuff) without it sounding like a horror novel.

    I also tried various forms of "Ghosts Between Us", "A Ghost Between Us" (which is a song) but so far I like it with "the" in the title the best. Because it's not just about the main character and the ghost boy, it's about the
    "ghosts" between everyone. The "the" gives the "ghosts" extra emphasis, I think.

    And thanks again for the congrats! :D

  12. Both the books I have finished, I felt like, Phew, now I can get on to the next thing. (The first one, I was just utterly relieved to get to the end. I knew the it all stunk to high heaven, and would have to be revised. When I got to revision, it didn't reek quite as much as I expected, but had some serious work.) My second one, I had held out a carrot for myself - I could work on revising the first (which I *wanted* to do) only after I finished the first draft of that second one. So, when I got to the end, I was glad, just for the freedom to work on what I wanted. If that makes sense.

    Anyway, congrats on getting to the end!