Hi, my name is Nova. I am five feet tall. I want to be a published author. My favorite color is dark blue. I am currently less than a month away from the day my novel is due. Maybe some of you are wondering how I’m doing. Maybe a few of you think I’ve already finished the first draft and am spending my free time watching all five seasons of Six Feet Under (which I am doing on top of writing the novel, don’t judge). Maybe you want to know how much I’ve suffered to reach this deadline to make yourself feel better as you push through to yours. Maybe you inexplicably like me and just want to say nice things… and to those kind people, thank you, I need it.
So, to recap, I started this with three chapters. A novel for young readers was expected to emerge from just those thirty pages and a working title.
Per the contract, I had to turn in an outline. I spent a long time on this so-called outline. I pretty much wrote a rough draft of many scenes rather than an ordinary outline. I got notes on the outline, which changed things for me, and I started writing and—after about a month—went off the rails from the outline and have been trying to keep myself on track since. The novel gets better with each plot change, I do believe it. Well, I hope my editor thinks so.
During this time I also, seeing as I am so totally awesome, made myself sick with stress.
In other news, I happened to be peeking around on Amazon and discovered that a novel I ghostwrote has a completely new title—which no one told me about, of course—and pubs this coming spring. Which does not feel at all like being a published author. It feels like helping someone cheat on the Earth Science test and watching them get a B+.
My report card for my own novel follows:
Current page count: About 160
Technically, the amount of pages I could have turned in per the contract: About 150
The amount of pages I probably still need to write in order to reach the end of the plot: Most likely 40
The amount of pages I should cut with line edits before showing my editor: At least 25, ideally 40
Sense of satisfaction over page count: Barely noticeable
Sense of confusion over state of plot: Astounding, sometimes hallucinatory
Buckets of doubt filling me: At least 17
What I most want to be writing: My next novel, or the short story I never got around to revising, or the last scene of this novel so I can turn this in
How I got through a tough spot in my plot: I skipped to the end of the story
Times I have done that with other novels: Never before
Amount of hope I have that skipping ahead to the end will work: Growing
Times I have printed out my manuscript: None yet
Point at which I am allowed to print out my manuscript: Once I reach the end of this sequence, maybe
Desire to see printed manuscript: Approaching desperation
Chances of making deadline: 92%
Looking forward to: Revising
Self-worth: 75 cents
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So, those of you in the midst of writing novels, how are you doing? Post your own report cards if you want to. And, please, think good thoughts for me, and/or send chocolate.