Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

The End April 11, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 1:13 pm
Tags: ,

Well, it’s done. I finished the story at 1.20am last night.

I feel a little lost this morning, normally I’d be wanting to dive into the writing by now and today…

My plan now is to let it sit for a week, then start on edits next weekend. I have lots of reading to catch up on for my crit group, and I want to read published books with similar themes to mine to see how they handled it (didn’t want to do that before I first draft as I would unconsciously plagiarise for sure!).

I do feel that I’d like to do something on it today. Maybe I’ll set up a Haven Bay cardfile in a program I have, because this is first in a series and I need to keep my facts straight. I don’t want widowed Sally who runs the pub from Book 1 to be newly married to her first husband in Book 2, or Sadie Briggs the Postwoman to play a key role when she started off as the 92 year old next-door-neighbour!

What I’ve learned-

  • I can do it. This is the longest period of sustained high volume writing I’ve done, and I stayed with it. I worried that if some miracle happened and my circumstances changed allowing me to write full time, I’d still not get anything done. Though a lot of the pressure to keep writing came from knowing no matter how far short of my goal I was, I have to go back to the Day Job tomorrow, I’ve proved to myself that I can do it- produce a lot of words quickly to a tight deadline.
  • I probably do have ways of creating more working time in my “normal” working day, no matter how busy it is
  • Pantsing works for me, as long as I know my characters and their relationship blocks well. Unlike last year’s disastrous Book in a Week where I did a lot of pre-planning yet totally lost the plot, all I had to do this time was keep asking myself the question- how does this affect the hero and heroine and their relationship?
  • Following on from above- if I sit down and have no idea what to write, all I need to ask is- what logically happens next? How would the characters respond to the situation and each other? I never found myself getting stuck and having to worry what to write next. If I feel stuck, I need to get into the characters head and heart more.

So overall, it’s been a fabulous learning experience for me. Of course, I’m not claiming what I’ve written is any good.  There will probably be plenty of cringe moments when I read it back.  And the job is not even half done. Now comes editing, refining, layering in more depth, more emotion, more sensuality, more lusciousness.

But it’s been a fun ride!


10 Responses to “The End”

  1. Huge congrats on finishing! I’ve almost finished my first draft too and then will be letting it sit for a week and catching up on reading and crits as well 🙂

  2. Congrats, Jane!

    And, *ahem* I’ve always said you could do it!

    Very proud of you.


  3. Caroline Says:

    Great job! See you can do it! Well done. Caroline x

  4. joanne Says:

    I take my hat off to you, that’s a really great achievement.
    Now you get to do the fun bit of editing and layering & making it sparkle, then hopefully it will be THE ONE!



  5. Francine Says:


    I’ve been sitting back watching your posts, and can only add to previous congratulations on finishing this particular 1st draft..

    Well done, and it is such a satisfying feeling, but as you say the nitty gritty yet to come with editing.

    I’ve almost finished a historical, and reckon another couple of days or so will see it done. I posted a snip of the 1st draft on my blog along with the previous 1st draft of contemporary novel. Both will have been writen since just before xmas. I’m aiming to write four a year just for the hell of it!



  6. Janet Says:

    That’s brilliant. What an achievement!!!
    I’m struggling to get an outline together so I think I’ll try just writing (but remembering to keep asking “how does this affect the hero and heroine and their relationship?”)

  7. WTG, Jane!! You are such a star. You can do it eh?

  8. Jane Holland Says:

    This has been a fantastic achievement, well done. I’m going to try my best to emulate your dedication this next week as I get cracking on a new book now the kids are all going back to school. Don’t think I’ll manage your fiercesomely high word counts though, lol.

  9. Wendy Marcus Says:

    I followed a link from Abbi’s blog. Congrats on finishing! What an accomplishment! Now comes the fun part!

    Good luck.

  10. Eileen Says:

    Book in a week! Okay, ten days. You’re my hero! Srsly!

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