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Fait accompli

Posted on June 1st, 2010 by annakjarzab

I did it. I finished the second draft of my second book. It seems to have taken FOREVER, but really it’s only taken five months, although for a revision that’s sort of rough. I admit, for long stretches of time during that period, I didn’t work on it. I actively avoided working on it for weeks at a time because I was just a little bit (meaning A LOT) scared of it. The problem with doing such a massive rewrite without knowing specifically what people (at this stage my agent and editor) want to read is that you could work on it for five months like I just did and still fail, not only in execution, but in concept. And the scary thing about failing in concept, at least for me, with this book, is that I don’t have another idea, or I don’t feel like I do, which is basically the same thing.

I had dinner with Alex the other week and I was telling her that I was having a hard time making a final push to the end of the book because of XYZ plot snag. Alex asked me to give her an idea of what the book is about, because although we talk about her WIP and my third book, we’ve never, I don’t think, talked specifically about my second book, probably due to the aforementioned fear on my part. So I explained the plot of the book to her as simply as I could, with as little rambling as I could, and when I was finished she was like, “Whoa, you’ve given yourself quite a challenge there.” Which broke my heart, because I didn’t think it was a big challenge when I originally conceived of it, and I started thinking, Well, what if it’s so big of a challenge that I can’t possibly do it? But of course I don’t have the luxury of thinking like that because BOOK DEAL and ADVANCE, so I had to press on, and Alex’s suggestion of how to fix the snag worked! Who knows what will happen to it in edits, but it helped me get over that final hump and actually make it to the finish line–which I did, on Thursday, at midnight.

109,000 words. 378 manuscript pages. That, if you’re a numbers sort of person, is about 20,000 words more than AUT, maybe a little less. It’s also about 60 more manuscript pages than AUT, maybe a little more. And furthermore, it’s DEFINITELY almost 100 more manuscript pages than this book was when I originally sent it to my editor a year ago. (Oh my God, a year ago.) I was working my way through the revision, and I told my roommate, “I think it’s going to be 100 pages longer when I’m finished.” She was like, “Oh, that’s impossible, your math has got to be wrong.” And I was like, “Yeah, you’re right,” because 99.9% of the time my math is completely wrong because I’m a math idiot! Guess what, though? I was right. I think the original ms of this book, back when it was called Murder Burger (a title that makes me cringe now), was about 289 pages. And I’m no Stephenie Meyers, you know–I’m a skeletal writer, and often during revisions I get notes like “expand on this” or “explain this” or “add scene to show this?”. There’s not a lot of cutting involved in my revisions, at least not to date, although, yeah, it’s only been one book so far.

What kind of LOLs me is that there’s stuff I know I should’ve added in this revision that I didn’t. My editor specifically asked me to mention where one of the characters plans to go to college–I didn’t. Not because I don’t know (I do) and not because I don’t think it should be mentioned (it totally should)–I just couldn’t find a place to slip it in. I will eventually do that. There are places I know I’m going to have to add, and there are places I know I’m going to have to smooth, and then there’s the dreaded standard criticism of a book with two narrators–“Not differentiated enough”–that I’m sure I’ll have to grapple with at some point. And even though I was able to wrangle him in at the last minute so that I could end the damn thing, my slippery secondĀ  main character remained slippery and will need further taming, I’m sure. At this point, I feel like it’s all there, I just have to make sure all the pieces are in the right place and form the right picture.

Or maybe I’m wrong. That’s the scary part. What if I did all this work and it’s unpublishable? What if I did ALL THIS WORK and it’s worse than it was before? I don’t know the answer to either of those questions, and I hope I don’t ever have to find out the answers, but it’s still hard not to worry, or to doubt myself, or to be distracted by the fact that I sort of want to move on to a new project. Standard authorly neurosis type stuff, you know the drill. See? When I write about writing, it’s so doom and gloom! I’d rather write about Glee.

Oh, and Book 2 still has no title. AWESOME.

3 Responses to “Fait accompli”

Alberto Lung on June 2nd, 2010 at 4:58 am Said:

Hey! It’s so nice to hear you talk about writing. It’s the truth, capital T.

It’s good, and it hurts, and wanting to stop and never do it again can be very tempting.

Thanks god you keep doing it.

Sameera on June 2nd, 2010 at 5:48 am Said:

Don’t worry! I think everything will work out for you. I think almost every author goes through what you are going through. Anyway, goodluck with your 2nd novel. I can’t wait to read it when it comes out next year!

Scarlet on June 6th, 2010 at 1:03 am Said:

I can’t imagine having it all in my head and trying to get it straightened out. I’m glad your friend helped out, though:)

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