Craft, Critique, Editing, Feedback, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Revision, Writing

Who knew brevity could take so long?

On this blog, I’ve been chronicling my progress in writing my novel The Brevity of Roses. I announced that it was finished … more than once! Last week, I told you that Kayla had been beta-reading for me and the feedback was mostly positive. Well, this week she finished the last three chapters. Unfortunately, this time, her feedback was not good.

Just kidding. She “loved” it. That’s not to say she found no problems with it, but they’re easy fixes. What’s more, in reading through to mark what needs to be fixed, I’ve found other sentences that could be clarified or strengthened. So the editing continues.

I’m generally a patient person … except with myself. I worked on this book every minute I could spare—and a great number of minutes when I should have been doing other things—until finally, after more than a year, I pressured myself to be DONE. After the first time I thought the book was finished (at 69,000 words) I gave it to some beta-readers, took their feedback and set to editing.

Then, I sent that “finished” version to another beta, thinking she’d say it was ready for its final polish. “Ummm … no,” she said and sweetly pointed out that she would like to know a bit more about what Meredith was thinking here and there. And didn’t I think I might have rushed this scene? And Renee’s such a great character; why not give her more space?

All right … I had to admit that I had wanted to be done so badly I sold my novel short. Back to work … for six more months! My word count has grown (to 83,000 words) and my story is more layered, stronger, and yet, now I see, I have a bit more work to do. But the end is near, a few hours work, and then this novel will be …

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21 thoughts on “Who knew brevity could take so long?”

  1. Ah, the ending of the end. How awesome a stage it is. If only readers knew how many times the words “THE END” aren’t, or how many times they’re moved, or replaced, or scraped, and how long and how much effort it takes to GET to those words.

    I have to do the same thing. The back end of my manuscript is such a mess I might have to scrap the project for another one. Not a big deal, I tell myself; that’s part of what this process is for. But you know what? It IS a big deal, because I’ve scuttled three years of calendar time (not actual time, though) on this one, and if it’s NOT going to make it, I will feel really, really stupid.

    But that’s me. Good on you for keeping on keeping on! You can make it! Not everyone can run a marathon, Linda, but you’re almost there. Cross that line; you can do it!


    1. Until I tried to write a novel, I certainly didn’t realize how much work goes into it. Reading makes writing look easy. 🙂

      I don’t envy the extent of your revisions. I think I might encounter something like that if I decided to whip my first novel into shape … that’s why I’m glad it’s a horror novel, less temptation to do that. I am so lazy. 😦 ANYWAY, good luck to you on your project. With your recent publishing success, you’re enthused enough to finish it.


  2. It sounds like the end is almost near! I know it seems like it took you a long time, but honestly, I think you were pretty fast. And it’s like learning a foreign language – the next one is going to happen a lot faster for you.

    Congrats on accomplishing so much thus far – you’re almost there!


  3. Oh, Linda, I am so excited for you! All that hard work and now you know it was not for nothing. You are inspiring–now I must go write. I must make something out of that collection of words I have become so attached to. Thanks for the inspiration!


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