distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

The End Has No End?

I’m working up some plot changes and new developments to the novel before I turn it in Feb. 1—nothing too drastic, just stuff I wholeheartedly think will make the thing better. I just called it the “thing”—I worked too long and hard to call what I’ve done a thing. But what is it? In no way is it a masterpiece. (Though, for a first draft, I’ll tell you a secret: I’m pretty cool with it. Happy even, sometimes. I see lots of potential—I hope others do, too.)

I carried the printout around with me all day yesterday, afraid to crack it open. When I did this morning, floodgates, I’m telling you, floodgates. I get a deep sense of satisfaction from holding all those pages. I love seeing the story all crisp and clean in Times New Roman. As I read it like this, I get the sense of what could be. What’s to change. What’s to be made better. Now, maybe I don’t know all of what that might be. Maybe I can’t know until my editor sees it. But I know one thing: I can’t wait to see.

Still, I want to get this into the best shape I can by Feb. 1. One of the issues is the last chapter. It’s probably the most important thing to address between now and then.

So I woke up motivated. Got myself to my favorite coffeeshop. Ordered me a mocha. I didn’t take my usual square table and instead went for one of the bigger round ones, so I could spread out my pages and drink my (delicious!) mocha at the same time. I began to read chapter one. I like chapter one. I began to feel very connected to chapter one. Then chapter one began to tell me what should happen in the final chapter. Chapter one opened me up. I wasn’t lying when I mentioned floodgates above!

I was suddenly in the middle of the coffeeshop, noise and people all around me, scrambling for a pencil. I couldn’t even get my laptop on in time. Then the scenes, the ideas, the possible words started pouring out and I couldn’t scribble them out fast enough. Not even time to breathe. The mocha got cold, my wrist ached, and I’d filled up the backs of pages and pages and pages with scribbles.

It’s moments like these when I wonder: What’s better than writing? Not publishing—not getting awesome agents and fancy book deals and fellowships and expensive diplomas that do nothing but gather dust on my wall. Not any of that. I mean writing. The work of it. The time spent in it. The process of getting closer and closer to writing the best book you’ve ever written, maybe, if you keep at it.

Writing—the process of it. Nothing in the world feels better to me than that. And this morning in the coffeeshop reminded me why.

Some asides, completely unrelated to my happy moment this morning:

  1. You can now subscribe to this blog via e-mail. There’s a button to do so on the top right of the sidebar; you don’t have to have a WordPress blog or any kind of blog to do it. It was a new feature I noticed in WordPress and I clicked it on. I don’t know, maybe someone will make use of it?
  2. I’m doing a reading at a Hudson Valley Barnes & Noble at the end of February. If you’re up there, please come, and please bring a tween or two with you! Q&A after.
  3. I would like to thank the Genius at the Apple Store in SoHo for saving my life—I mean my MacBook—yesterday. I brought it in because I thought (assumed) the mouse button on the trackpad was broken and needed to be replaced. The Genius saw it and within seconds knew it was something else. I had the gall to argue with him, but guess what? He was right. I had an expanding—practically about-to-explode—battery under the trackpad that was making the mouse button unusable. He replaced it and he was 100% right. THANK YOU, Genius. If I’d been writing the end of this novel and my computer exploded under my fingers I can’t even tell you how horrific a scene that would have been. So this novel was saved by a Genius, as I’m sure many novels are.
  4. I’m starting to actively freelance again. I miss being a publishing person sometimes, but alas there is no such thing as a part-time day job with full benefits where you can come in at eleven when your novel’s captured your imagination and all you want is to get out this scene. Freelancing is a tough life, but I am going to balance it with the writing and see where it gets me. Worst case, I can look back and say I TRIED. So… off to dig up my red pencils, dust off my Chicago 15. Hard work ahead.
  5. No new aside here—I just can’t abide by things in even numbers. Have a nice day!
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11 responses to “The End Has No End?”

  1. Nothing is better than writing. I love every bit of it. The starting, the finishing, the grubbing around in the dirt for a new idea. ^^ *sigh* I’m gonna go write some. I want to feel the keyboard under my fingers again.

    • I absolutely agree! Right at the moment what I’m LOVING is rewriting. I think it might—might—just be my favorite part. After the first splash of words are put down, but before an editor’s seen it. It feels so exciting and *hopeful*!

  2. I just had one of those moments myself after a month of feeling okay with how things were progressing but at the same time aware of a feeling of disquiet. And then quite suddenly ‘aha’ and in a frenzy I wrote a new chapter which just made sense out of everything. I think the only extra that could have made it even better would have been one of them mochas you mentioned.
    Good luck with your thing.

  3. Great to see a writer. I’m a bengali; English isn’t my first language. But I’m extremely interested in writing English and since past few years I have been practicing to improve. But not any significant improvement that I’ve noticed lately. I think I either need someone’s guidance or have to live in an English environment.

    (Un)luckily, I can’t go either way.

    I’m a journalist, but I write in Bangla. I’d love to write in English. I tried several times, but never I could write well. I also like to write story. So far there is one story published by me that is of 32 pages. Here’s the same problem: the story was written in Bangla. I tried to translate that into English. But I noticed that the translated version was lacking the quality and the main expression.

    I’m sorry for off-topic comment. Every time I see some English writer or journalist, I just feel a bit greedy.

    • Sajib, I think that’s amazing. I can’t imagine writing in another language—it’s hard enough for me to get out the words in my first language! I wish you the best of luck. Maybe there’s an online writing course you could take when you have the time that would help and give you loads of inspiration—and you wouldn’t have to leave home to do it? I think there are a lot of universities that offer them, as well as places like MediaBistro.com, etc.

      Best of luck, Sajib!

  4. When I was actively writing Legendary Days, I kept this small, fifty cent notebook in my car at all times. I flipped through it yesterday and was amazed by all the ideas that came to me and are now indispensable parts of the book. And you’re right – sometimes being a writer is so great it doesn’t matter if you have an agent, get paid, any of it.

    • Bryan, you should totally keep a hold of that notebook forever. It’s going to be the coolest thing to look back on when your novel is published… cannot wait for that. (Selfishly, also, so I can read the book!)

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