distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

First Draft Aftermath

I finished the first draft of my new novel late last week and turned it in. This will be my second book with Dutton, but I’m going to keep myself quiet about what it’s called and what it’s about until I’m deeper into the process. We haven’t even started revising yet, so who knows… This book could become something entirely new by the end of this. It could reveal a whole new face to me. It could flip itself upside down and inside out and need to be entirely rewritten. It could illuminate itself in ways I haven’t seen yet, so once I have the feedback and start working with my editor, I’ll have a better idea of what’s to come. All I do know is this book needs a lot of work—a lot. I love revising, so I honestly can’t wait, but knowing there will be a lot of work ahead really is daunting. I’d be lying if I pretended otherwise.

This was a difficult first draft to get out, for many reasons.

Here was my status update on Facebook:

So now I’m looking into the future—my future—and I’m seeing a blank.

Will I be lucky enough to get the opportunity to publish another book after this one?

Should I go back to full-time work in publishing? (Though I’m realizing I can’t, until after I return home from my next writing residency this spring, so that decision will be prolonged for some more months.)

What should I write next?

Should?? Oh, I never listen to shoulds. What will I write next?

This weekend, after finishing the first draft, I had full intention of revising my two pitches-in-progress so I can show my agent and see what he thinks… and then I did something else. I slept. I mean I slept. I slept late, got up only to sleep again, got up to eat and then went back to sleep and slept and slept. I think my brain wanted a bit of a break, huh?

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7 responses to “First Draft Aftermath”

  1. I’ve done that before, the sleep, sleep, sleep part, that is. First drafts are draining, especially when you’re cranking out several pages a day. ;_; Congrats on completing another manuscript! Good luck with the pitches, as well. =)

  2. Congrats, Nova, for finishing. Sleeping is good. I always sleep for hours after finishing a first draft. Take a break (if you can. My mind likes to jump to project to project with no breaks except for taking December and January off writing-wise. I seem to never be able to write during those months.)

    Good luck for the pitches! I’m sure you will get another book published. You’re amazingly talented.

  3. Oh man, I can sympathize. I prepare tax forms and on the first Friday after the 15th of April we close the office and I rest, too! Enjoy the downtime and don’t let the daunting task ahead spoil what is an otherwise well earned rest. You did well, you show that through how much you cared.

  4. Great post! The rest is well deserved and maybe do some reading to get the muse going again. I’ve definitely been down that road with first drafts before… and revisions. Can’t wait to read this one!

  5. […] For some time, if you’ve been reading this blog, you may have noticed that I’ve been hard at work on a secretive new novel. This was a novel that first started coming out of me when I was away from home, outside my real life. I still vividly remember writing its very first words (then pounding out its first 50 pages in a mad spree of inspiration never matched since) while I was away in the spring of 2010 at Yaddo. When I got home after my four-week stay up in Saratoga Springs, I put the novel aside to revise Imaginary Girls. I didn’t return to it again until I was away from home for another residency, this time at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire in the winter of 2011. It was there, in my little house in the woods, where I wrote some more dark and darkly inspired pieces of this new book. It wasn’t until I came home in February of 2011 that I started to work on this book in the harsh light of day. By that I mean reality. By that I mean in my overly distracted and scattered life here in New York City. This is where I stalled. The first draft wouldn’t come easily. It threatened my sanity. It forced me to relearn everything I thought I knew about writing novels. Let’s just say that it took a lot out of me. […]

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