I Did It

Post Date: May 22nd, 2010

“I lived to write, and wrote to live.”

Samuel Rogers

Draft #2 of my latest novel is done.

I wrote hot, and I wrote fast. For six months I wrote daily, and I printed out what I wrote and revised that. When I was too tired to create anew, I entered those edits. I also began some research and the findings fueled changes. I composed while I drove; ideas came to me constantly in the car, so a notepad was a tremendous help at red lights.

Now the draft is bound, courtesy of Kinko’s. I take it out today to a retreat space and I’ll read it like I just bought it. This experience will tell me what I need to change before I hand it off to a writing partner (we’re swapping novels) and a few who’ve offered to take a gander.

More drafts will unfold in the next months. I am on a relentless pursuit that is somewhat different from my last novel. That manuscript ballooned at one point to 1200 pages, then slimmed to 800, then got hacked to 400-something. I blogged about my intent to only add back in what was necessary, but after so many years and too much attachment, I no longer had an idea of what was necessary. So I shelved it after 15 years of relationship. There was no drama at this break-up; sometimes you know when a union is broken. Especially when you meet somebody new.

This relationship with this book has been very Johnny Cash-Loretta Lynn, we-got-married-in-a-fever, and I believe authors such as Stephen King would approve. Write the durn thing as fast as you can, letting plot and momentum drive the process. I did indeed. King also cautions, Don’t make life serve your writing. This is said by a guy who writes every day save his birthday and Fourth of July.

Life has somewhat served the writing of this lately. There are sacrifices of time for family, friends, and whatever it is the rest of you do on weekends. When you have a day job, it isn’t enough to write an hour or less a day. The weekend must be offered up, too.

Aside from the intensity, there’s little romance to the story of how I came to 400 bound pages. I applied seat of the pants to seat of the chair daily, and I printed out faithfully, and I carried the manuscript around like a wedding ring. So in a sense, it was a fly-by-night marriage, but the union is monogamous and faithful. I tried to sustain some short story revision and creation while the novel was being written, but that’s fallen by the wayside now. I just can’t see other people; it’s against my faith.

This morning, I know one thing, and it’s not just thanks to caffeine: I did it, and now, a new phase of the union begins. Revise, revise, revise.

Send me whatever they send couples on their six-month anniversary and I’ll send you photos of the celebration.

Writing Prompts: Please note that writing prompts should always be pursued in emotionally-safe environments with the supervision of someone who interested in encouraging good writing, self-awareness, and reflection. A wonderful resource is Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and With Others.

© Lyn Hawks. Writing prompts for one-time classroom use only and not for publication in any form elsewhere without permission of this author.

Elementary Prompts:

— What is something you’ve done you are proud of? It does not have to be the biggest thing you’ve ever done. It could be that you made someone smile; that you helped someone who needed help; that you did something for the first time ever. Think about a time you made a new friend, learned to tie your shoe, rode a bike, sang in front of people, or drew a picture. Write about any of those times and how it felt.
— Have you ever met someone and right away knew this person would be a great, close friend? Write a list of all the things about this person that told you s/he would be your good friend.
— Imagine you have a time machine and you have just traveled back in history or forward in time. You land in a place you’ve only heard of in books. What place is it? You stumble on a magical book that will unlock the mystery of where you are and what you must do next. Write the first page of that book.
— Draw the cover of a book you would like to read. Then, write the paragraph that explains what this book is all about.
— Finish this sentence with 25 more words: The best thing I’ve ever done is…

Secondary & Adult Prompts:

— Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most. Think of a time that gives you fond memories because you accomplished something you hadn’t before–something small. It could be that you made someone smile or offered help; it could be that you came to a realization you’d never had before; it could be fixing something that was a mystery to you before. What happened? Relive that moment by writing about your experience.
— There is a phrase for a person with whom you just click: “kindred spirit.” Have you ever met a person and knew immediately that this individual was destined to be a close friend? Write a description of this person and your encounter. Then, if you wish, write a list of “how to know” someone is a kindred spirit.
— Imagine you have a time machine and you have just traveled back in history or forward in time. You land in a place you’ve only heard of in books. What place is it? You stumble on a magical book that will unlock the mystery of where you are and what you must do next. Write the first page of that book.
— Finish this sentence with 100 more words: The best thing I’ve ever done is…

4 Comments

  1. Naaaaaaance says:

    Whooooooohooooooo! You are inspiring–fantastic!

  2. That’s great stuff! What’s the word count?

  3. Thanks!

    Word count = 105,328. Some slimming will happen very soon. On a roll!












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