So Close – But Yet…

I am a great starter.

Need someone to run the first twenty miles of a marathon? No problem.  Need to tear apart an old Jeep in hopes of rebuilding it? Give me a wrench. Want to paint the master bathroom?  Let’s go to Sherwin Williams.

Oh…Wait…You want a finisher?

Well, hold on there, pardner.

Finishing is different.

Finishing is hard.

Sometimes, you hit a wall. Sometimes, you run out of money. Sometimes, a squirrel comes along.

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Avery via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Nathaniel Avery via Compfight cc

Back in December, I wrote a post about my first novel project.  In that post, I stated my target for completion was March 1. After all, that is a great day for a birthday. Turns out, that goal was a bit aggressive.

While I’m not going to commit to a firm date for publishing, my new goal is “early” summer. Here’s where I stand.

In December, I had written most of the first draft of the novel.  I stood at just over 50,000 words, which is on the shorter side of a full length novel.

I let one person read it – my Alpha reader – and she gave it a thumbs up. She agreed with me, though, that I had some story gaps to fill. So, I began to edit and fill. Sort of like Bondo for writing.

By end of February, I had passed the 60,000 word mark and the gaps were filled. At this point, I finally had a complete novel, but I wanted more feedback.

The next step was to enlist several Beta readers (Alpha and Beta are software terms referring to programs that aren’t quite ready for prime time) to read the novel and give me feedback, especially on story line and character development.  Well, the Beta readers gave me five stars.  That would be five readers times one star each. Just kidding – I’ve been saving that joke for weeks!

Seriously, though, the early readers gave me extremely valuable feedback, which will allow me to deliver a much better novel.  Turns out, writing the first draft was the easy part.  The hard part is now the rewrite and edit. So, that’s where I stand – the rookie starting pitcher in the 9th inning, needing to bear down for a few more batters to finish and secure his first complete game win.

It is quite the mental battle. So, queue the Rocky theme, while I slip on my  black Chuck Taylors and go for a run:

Trying hard now
It’s so hard now
Trying hard now

Getting strong now
Won’t be long now
Getting strong now

Gonna fly now
Flying high now
Gonna fly, fly, fly…

-“Gonna Fly Now” (The theme from Rocky), Bill Conti

So, stay tuned for Negative Split. It is the story Nathan Stiles, a writer who finds himself facing quite a few challenges. That’s all I’ll say for now.  Perhaps an excerpt with find its way here soon.

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2 thoughts on “So Close – But Yet…

  1. Looking forward to that excerpt. And I’ll read your novel. Hell, I’ll read anything. Cereal boxes, instructions for fire extinguishers, album liner notes…

  2. Hey Greg,
    I had no idea you were writing a novel! I love reading fiction and I can’t wait to get a copy and have the author autograph it!

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