Last week, I mailed off 177 pages of my novel to my mentor and five other unsuspecting people who had offered to read the manuscript at one point or another and had no idea that I would send them 177 pages in one fell swoop. The book is actually 230 pages at this point – although it’s accurate to say the last 53 pages are a muddled mess and it didn’t seem fair to subject anyone to that stream-of-consciousness madness. And I know there’s more to the story, too, sandwiched in little files here and there on my hard drive (and backed up on my Passport, too, don’t you worry), waiting for the day the story will magically be ready for them.
So, officially, I’ve met the page count for my thesis. With a few days of revision, it will be done. (Insert happy graduation dance here.)
But I’m not done with the book – and it’s my desperate personal goal to be done with the book.
I’ve heard back, thus far, from two people. My mentor, who is paid to read my work, analyze it, take it apart, make suggestions, tell me what works and doesn’t, what I need more of and what I need less of, etc., responded in two days with, essentially, a thumbs up. My husband, who is technically paying for me to write this book, responded in three days. His suggestions (other than a well-meant comment I am trying to ignore, that the story reads a bit like “an R-rated Judy Blume”) were surprisingly helpful. I don’t mean to imply that his comments usually are not helpful, just that with this read he saw things in the story that I hadn’t seen, and his offhand comments have suddenly refocused my vision of the story. (Insert happy dance of marital bliss here.)
There is, of course, a significant distinction between being a book being completed and a book being finished. A few months ago, Delusional Me thought I would have the book finished. Done. Printed on half a tree worth of paper and happily on its way to an agent. Now Realistic Me says, wouldn’t it be great if I could just get a draft of the book completed, bound in my thesis, and then I could sit down at the end of the summer and begin a thorough revision? And there’s Still-Hopeful Me, who thinks that maybe I’ll fall somewhere in the middle.
As it stands, here are the stats courtesy of Microsoft Word:
Characters (no spaces): 278,204
Characters (with spaces): 339,931
I realize it’s not about the numbers, but when I look at it like that, it feels pretty good.