How Am I Doing?

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

* * *

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.

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10 responses to “How Am I Doing?”

  1. Oooh, lots of good thoughts coming your way. From here, it looks like you’re doing brilliantly, though I know only you know how it feels to be inside the process.

    I will definitely post a report card this week.


  2. You’re doing well, way better than me, I am *still* on chapter four of the redraft, had a massive lightbulb moment about an hour ago (and I’m online to research that, ahem) but otherwise am stuck and sick of being stuck!

    I will send virtual chocolate and good vibes. If you were here you could have a bar of Lindt 70% that is in the fridge and I’m not allowed to eat it.


  3. I was wandering around Barnes & Noble the other day with a stack of books in my hands, and came across an entire table devoted to writing. Setting my stack down, I began to thumb through the 20-30 books about writing. About halfway through, I came to one that was titled something like “Write Your Novel in 30 Days!”

    I didn’t touch it. I just picked up my books and walked away. And I thought of you and the other actively writing writers I know through blogging, and I shook my head. But I admit I wondered, “wonder what would happen if I tried that?”

    All these books on how to write and be published, sitting around, accusing us. And yet it’s still so difficult to write.


  4. I think it looks like a good report card so far. Although there are areas for improvement (ie self-worth!!!). I do not understand why you aren’t patting yourself on the back more often, woman. You are made of awesome. I am sending good thoughts. YOU CAN DO THIS! You ARE doing it!

    I am getting my revision notes for SGA fairly soon. My deadline is December first. I am a huge combination of excited and terrified. I’ll have to mock up my report card in November and see how I am doing then (well, I hope!). 😉


  5. You’re doing fine! Don’t panic and don’t worry. You’ll hit your deadline, you’ll turn it in, your editor will like it, you’ll revise and make it even better. And then, when it’s all done, you’ll show it off and dance down the halls waving a copy and shouting, “Look at me! Look at my book!”

    Well, okay, maybe not that last part. But we’ll work on it. 🙂


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