Wednesday, February 02, 2011

On finishing a draft

First, more announcements! Yay!
  1. Cassandra Clare, author extraordinaire of the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices trilogy, took part in a video for Barnes & Noble discussing some of her favorite books and The Dead-Tossed Waves made her list!  HUGE SQUEE!  You can watch the video here.  It's a pretty awesome and diverse list so I'm very thrilled and honored to get a shout out.
  2. Speaking of The Dead-Tossed Waves... the paperback comes out on Tuesday, Feb 8th. Eee, less than a week!  And I won't even be in town or anywhere near a bookstore!
  3. Speaking of Tuesday, in celebration of the paperback coming out, I think I'll post more excerpts for The Dark and Hollow Places (the first chapter of which is in the paperback of DTW).  Here's the first paragraph!

(In order to read the first paragraph of The Dark and Hollow Places above, download a QR code reader to your smart phone (I use the app i-nigma but I've read you can also direct your browser to and then point it at that QR code above).  I'll post the actual first paragraph in my next post :)

So yesterday afternoon ago I hit send on a draft of my new book to my agent and editor (can't share details yet, sorry!).  And for a while I just sort of sat there, trying to figure out what to do next.  I've done this before -- turned in first drafts -- and I'm sure I felt similarly then but even so, this sort of snuck up on me.  I think because I was prepared to spend all day working on the draft getting it in just before midnight so pressing send in the middle of the afternoon was unexpected.  I suddenly had no idea what to do with myself.

Mostly, I just never really spent a lot of time figuring out what came after checking off "turn in draft."

I've learned over the past few years that I tend to be a linear thinker when it comes to tasks: I prioritize a list and then I methodically move through one after another.  Which means that when the top of the list is "write book, deadline looming" it's hard for me to see past that to anything else (such as "answer email," or "update website" or "write short story" or "read").  The closer I get to the deadline, the more one-track my mind gets.  I feel guilty working on anything else even though it's almost impossible to spend all day every day just straight up writing.  And yet, everything else falls to the wayside.

At the beginning of the year I sat down and made a chart of all my deadlines (external and internal) and what I needed to do to meet them.  So I know that logically, next on my list is "write short story due imminently" and I'll move on to that soon.

But it's really sort of hard to describe the feeling of turning in a draft and what that does to your head.  I remember experiencing a similar feeling when I finished writing the first draft of The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  I'd spent months carrying this story around in my head, spending every free moment putting the pieces together and figuring out how it could work, what should come next, etc.  That book was always in my thoughts. 

And then I finished the draft and suddenly... I could let it go.  It was such a relief!  That's what it was like turning in that draft yesterday.  I've been carrying this book around in my head for so long, and now... it's out of my hands.  It will be back in my hands soon enough, I'm sure, but now my mind feels almost a little empty.  I don't know what to turn to when I'm taking a walk or staring into space.  It's a crazy kind of freedom!

So what did I end up doing?  I had some miscellaneous work that had to be done, and then I took a walk to a local burger place and sat and had a long lunch with my ereader and a beer.  I came home, talked to some friends, and looked at all the books on my shelf I've been wanting to read and haven't had the time for.  I picked a few of them up and put them back, almost giddy with the choices and unable to decide where to start.  I actually spent some time with my husband while I wasn't stressing about a deadline and when I went to bed I let my mind wander over the various other projects waiting for me.

And yes, already I'm thinking about revisions :)


Andye said...

Congrats! Now relax!! Haha, I know, easier said than done. I'm anxiously awaiting The Dark and Hollow Places, and I can't wait to see what you have for us next.

Thanks for the teaser!

Zoƫ Marriott said...

I tend to go slightly...unbalanced the first few days after I turn an ms in. I get incredibly euphoric for a couple of hours and then I dive straight down into depression. I wander around the house, sighing and staring at the walls, like a mum whose child just left for school for the first time. And then, after a couple of days, I snap out of it and I think, wow, look at all these books I can read/emails I can answer/films I can see/friends I can hang out with! Such a strange feeling.

Anyway, congratulations on finishing your draft, Carrie.

Shveta Thakrar said...

Yay, Carrie, on finishing and on the shout-out! I saw it yesterday and smiled. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Carrie, I am a teacher from south eastern Australia and have come to your blog on the recommendation of one of our blogger participants in the Kick Start Your Blog Challenge. We were looking at QR codes and mention was made that you use them. They fascinate me and I am trying to work out how we can effectively use them in education. Most students have a mobile phone in their pockets and if we could encourage more learning with these, it would be fabulous.

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