Today I finished the first draft of my novel. I wasn't sure if I'd ever finish it, but I finally did it! I am so elated. This is a great work and I can imagine it being read in high school and college literature classes one day. What an accomplishment. I could die tomorrow knowing that I would live on somehow, through my words. I'm on top of the world and I can't wait to see it in print. This is going to be a classic. It only took me a few months to write it. At this pace I could write three or four books every year!
I know I should give it more time, but I couldn't wait to get started editing my manuscript. I started proof reading it today and it's even better than I remembered it! I'm so excited. People are going to love this book. My proof read made it through two chapters today (that's 8% of the entire book!!). If I can keep this pace up, it will be ready to go to print in two weeks. I've only found a couple of typos! God, I'm good.
Editing is going well. I have a long way to go, but I feel like I'm really going to get through this. It's not as hard as I've heard people say it is. I'm even finding some quirky uses of the English language in my style. There are a lot of linking words in my sentences like "although" and "finally" and "just then" that seem to give the overall work a warm, classic feeling. I'm discovering that I write just like I talk and I think people are really going to respond to that. The book is over 25% edited today!
Just for fun, I used my word search feature to see how many times I used the word "although" in the manuscript. It popped up 287 times. That seemed a little bit excessive, but there are a lot of words in a manuscript so it might not be so bad. Spent the day clicking down the list of them and reading the sentences they're in. I made it about 1/3 of the way through the list.
I've spent the last two months performing word searches and then editing my overused terms. Here is a list I discovered from the first draft and how many times they appeared:
Although 287 times
Because 884 times
And Then 917 times
Finally 471 times
It Seemed 558 times
Still 1,176 times
Who uses "it seemed" 558 times in their entire life, let alone within the confines of a single 75,000 word document? That's just crazy. Each time I performed a new search on a word, my heart sank and my stomach turned. It turns out my "style" isn't quirky at all. It was just bad grammar. At least now I can finally get back to editing. Shit. I just used the word "finally" again.
November 21, 2011
"He'd found that he couldn't live without her, but she'd never know it."
While the next paragraph wouldn't have any:
"He had found that he could not live without her, but she would never know it."
Spent the last three months performing searches of variations of words and adding apostrophes. My list of possible searches has grown to over 100 variations. Did not, will not, would not, they are, we are, you are, we had, might have, and the list goes on and on and on. Who would've ever imagined that I'd need to add 2,857 apostrophes? I feel like such an idiot. Thought about throwing my laptop off the roof today. Good thing I don't live in the city where there are tall buildings.
I took some time off of editing to reflect upon commas today. They've ceased to make any sense to me at all. I spent a week rereading all of their rules of usage, but each new sentence I read becomes more confusing than the last. I started over on the edit and seemed to remove almost every comma in the first chapter, while adding several hundred that weren't there to begin with. Am I losing my mind?I must be the stupidest bastard alive. My ten year old kid can use a comma correctly. I am, a f@cking idiot.
It took me more proof reads than I could count and an entire year, but I finally did it. The manuscript was polished to perfection and today I received a box of my own paperback books in the mail. I'm going to take them to the local coffee shop and sell some. There are so many people who are excited to read it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening the box. Perfecting the book was so much harder than I thought it would be, but it's so rewarding to know that it's finally polished and perfect. It's beautiful!
My middle school English teacher called me last night. She said she'd read the book and thought it was pretty good. She also said that she had trouble following the story at times because the perspective was confusing, and I'd used the term "donned on him" instead of the correct "dawned on him" twice. She said that I probably already knew that the girl introduced in Chapter 17 was a brunette on one page and then turned into a "black haired beauty" on the very next page. Then, she mumbled something about a lack of character development before I inexplicably dropped the phone. I spent the rest of the night curled into a fetal position on the kitchen floor. My phone was beeping. I didn't notice it for six hours.
I think I've finally completed the polishing of the 34th revised edition of my first book. It's some of the worst swill that I've ever read, but at least it's finally finished. I pray that when I'm dead and gone that nobody ever reads this crap and I wish to hell that I could get back the first two thousand copies I've sold in the last 30 years. They are crap. At least now I can finally begin work on my second novel...
Thanks for reading!