After the storm


I finished the first draft of that historical novel.

Note the “first draft” part. What I actually mean is that I wrote the story to the end. Not that I’m sending it to my agent, my beta readers, not even that I’m ready to read it through myself. I have never in my short writing career had so much trouble with a story. Never. As soon as I wrote The End I put the whole thing in time out and got drunk.

Which goes to show that every manuscript is different, even in the author’s experience of writing it. You know what I think bothered me about this one? I wrote it with knowledge. The other four were written before I sought criticism. I was writing them for myself. Having fun. Completely un-self-conscious.

Now? Hoo boy.

What else might have gone wrong with this one? I have discussed the finer aspects of writing historical, and I think that, for me, writing in someone else’s world is no fun. Not only will people claim you’re inaccurate, which is a drag, but you don’t really know what the world was like–and you know you don’t know what it was like. You’re guessing. And that, my friends, is no fun for a daydreamer and world-builder like me.

The very characters of the main couple might have been problematic, too. They’re young and rather innocent. Sex is not at the heart of their relationship, and there are no explicit scenes in the whole. Darn. Book. So yes, for me personally, that took some fire out of it, try as I might to replace that particular fire with other kinds.

Anyway: it is stewing. It’s been seventy-two hours since I put it out of sight, and I have already had some epiphanies about what still needs to be added. I am working on another manuscript now, and probably will be for several months (this one is alt-planet political machination; very tricky, but a lot of fun!), which will give me lots of time to figure things out about the historical.

Anyway: phew. That was a heck of a ride.


2 thoughts on “After the storm

  1. Yeah, writing with knowledge is tough. It stops being “look what I can do” and becomes “I’m looking, I’m looking, oh god what are you doing.” Or it did for me, anyway. Nothing is less fun than having my brain go “my isn’t that a nice bit of exposition right there!” while I’m in the midst of a scene. But at the same time, I know I’m writing better stuff. It’s a trade.

  2. It’s tough I’m sure, with your earlier books there wasn’t anyone around who could say “that’s wrong” – oh sorry, I know I did that once, but it was minor – but when you write stuff that folks can argue about, it gets difficult. I like the idea of “time out” – when I’m working on a new design in knitting, I often have to put it in the time out bin, and the problems I have been having with it just simmer in the back of my mind, and usually a solution comes about. The subconscious mind is a strange beast.

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