The Historical Novel

So I have this big ole honkin’ novel that I wrote alongside another novel back in November/December 2012. I was overwhelmed and benched it for a long time. Well, I guess I benched it for a year. I just couldn’t bring myself to go over the many holes in the plot, the undeveloped characters, and the ending that was only a few paragraphs because I was so anxious to finish the thing.

Then at the beginning of this year I decided it was time to tackle it. I went painstakingly through each and every chapter…combining chapters, adding characters, tightening plot, fixing holes, adding character depth, correcting choppy or corny dialogue, adding a completely new subplot with another character to the mix, and using up an entire dark green ink pen in the process. It took me two full weeks of doing nothing else.

I basically just finished the rewriting of the novel that started out somewhere around sixty thousand words and ended up at 153,000 words and 44 chapters.

This has been the first book that has officially made it out of first draft status.

And as I continued to rewrite the last few chapters I have been sending the first chapters to a fellow writer for critique and edits and so now I will embark on (more) editing and tightening…and getting it published.

A part of me is sort of sad that I am *almost* finished with these characters, their story, their hometown. It has been a story inside me for as long as I can remember taking place in Los Angeles in the 1940s in a town that doesn’t exist anymore. A town that my mother grew up in and had wonderful memories that she shared with me.

My goal was to finish the rewrite by the end of the year and I made it by barely a month to spare. Whew. Now, my goal is to get some book proposals out in the world by the end of the year as I continue now to edit chapter by chapter. And while my instinct is to hold on forever correcting a missed comma or an adjective that could have been better I will remind myself of a quote I heard  a writer say recently on a podcast: “Perfection is the enemy of done.” Not to say I won’t do my due diligence in making sure it is as good as I can make it but I can’t hold onto this baby forever, keeping it a toddler when it should be going off to college.

I gotta let it go.

And hopefully by letting it go it will be published and transformed from plain ole white paper to a pretty book with thick covers and a binding.

Meanwhile, I am about twelve thousand words into my NANO novel I started a few days ago and starting on Monday I will attack another rewrite of another novel.


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