Done (But Really Only Just Getting Started)

Manuscript page from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Kind of what my manuscript looks like right now (from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, via Wikimedia Commons)

My first draft of the new novel is done, at a little over 84,000 words.

*pats self on back*

Now I’m typing it all up from my handwritten manuscript (as I explained the other day, I write first drafts out longhand so as to keep my writerly loins girded up against the temptations of internet shopping and Facebook). I’ve already got nearly 60,000 words typed. Once it’s typed, it’ll be time for revisions. Lots and lots of revisions.

A couple of shoutouts. Thanks to a blog I like called LitDrift, I came across How to Write Badly Well. Besides making me laugh my pants off, it’s also a full of great insights into what makes writing bad or good.

Also, I made the (virtual) acquaintance of an interesting and talented (ex)Mormon writer, Holly Welker. She had a great short memoir piece a couple of months ago in the New York Times “Modern Love” series about her time as a Mormon missionary. I’d love to see that memoir of hers in print. She’s also organized a group of Mormon women writers on the internet.

Oh, and by the way—a friend sent me a link to Authonomy.com. It’s an interesting idea—writers upload manuscripts or partial manuscripts, and they get voted on by readers. The most popular manuscripts get publishing contracts. I’m not sure what to think, although my first reaction is to imagine it’ll be more a popularity contest than anything to do with good writing. Anyone else have opinions on it?

2 thoughts on “Done (But Really Only Just Getting Started)

  1. Hi! Congratulations on completing your first draft! I know what a great feeling that is.

    I used to write all of my first drafts out in longhand as well, but now I’ve gradually transitioned so I can core dump original thoughts right from my head into the computer. The amount of time saved is astronomical–and I’ve discovered that when I’m immersed in my writing on the computer, I’m not the least bit interested in any other online trappings.

    This is just a thought for your consideration because, if you’d written the 60,000 words directly into the computer, you would have been ready to start editing right away rather than having to key all of the longhand in first. I only make this suggestion because I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is to find the time to write in the first place.

    Thanks also for the information on Authonomy.com. I’ll check it out and let you know what I think.

    Meanwhile, good luck with the edit!

    Cheri

  2. Congrats are definitely in order. Take a deep breath…then start those revisions. Don’t wait too long and lose momentum (and confidence). With novels, you have to think and pace yourself like a distance runner.

    And a word of caution about Authonomy–I spent some time over there and it’s more of a huge, bitchy writing group than anything else. Weekend scribblers trying to urge and cajole each other into reading their amateurish scribblings, voting on who’s best. And there’s a small clique of suspicious, amateur “writers” controlling threads and chasing away anyone who doesn’t agree that everything on Authonomy is peachy keen.

    Supposedly some sub-sub-editor at HarperCollins constantly trolls through this vast slush pile, searching tirelessly for the genius to be found there. Don’t believe it: HarperCollins has chosen very few books for publication from that misbegotten mire of tripe–among them a romance novel and another poor-me memoir.

    Caveat emptor, as far as Authonomy goes…

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