Monday, August 29, 2011

(Work-in-) Progress Report: Steve

Word count (to the nearest thousand): 55,000
Status: FINISHED WITH THE FIRST DRAFT!
Attitude: Pumped

Well, Steve’s first draft came in a bit longer than I’d originally anticipated (by about 10,000 words), and yet I finished him much faster than I was expecting to. All told, it took me a little more than a month to crank out this first draft (a week back in February and three or four weeks this summer). A little more than a month! That’s crazy fast, at least for me.

I don’t know why this project came together so quickly. Maybe it was the character. (Of all the main characters I’ve written, Ella Mae is quite possibly my favorite. She’s smart and spunky but still twelve years old. Her black-and-white view of the world--at least at first--is one of the things that makes her so interesting.) Maybe it was the story. (Steve essentially grew out of two questions: “What if you dropped a Japanese man in the middle of small-town America in the early 1950s? And what if that Japanese man weren’t entirely…natural?”) Or maybe it had something to do with the tough rejection I received at the end of July. (Based on a series of e-mails I exchanged with that agent, I really thought that rejection was going to be an offer. So when the rejection came in, I threw myself back into Steve. I believe I wrote 2,000 words that first day.)

But whatever the reason, I’m not going to complain:) As much as I’ve enjoyed watching the pages fly by while working on this first draft, I can’t wait to revise. My editing skills just continue to improve, and I already have a list of changes, big and small, that I need to make. Bring on the revisions!

A few more tidbits about Steve: He’s an MG historical with a dash of science fiction. If I had to compare him to two classic titles, I’d go with FRANKENSTEIN and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, two of my all-time favorites. Those comparisons are a little audacious, I know, and I don’t plan to use them in an actual query letter. Not that I have anything resembling a query letter yet. I like to let the story develop a bit before I try to tackle one of those...

(I have been tinkering with a logline over the past couple of weeks, though. You can find it over there in my sidebar. If you’re a logline king/queen--or still just trying to figure them out, like I am--feel free to give me your thoughts in the comments!)

So what about you? How has your latest work-in-progress been coming along?

27 comments:

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Yay for loving your WIP so much! :D I'm going through this now. I'm 30,000 words into my current WIP and I think it's my favorite book I've written so far. The words just come. I haven't had writers block at all, haven't struggled with any plot points and I'm so in love with it. And it's the fastest first draft I've written as well! I've only been writing it for a few weeks! Craziness. Good luck on revisions! Your book sounds amazing!:D

Robyn Lucas said...

YAY for you!!! I've found that printing out the whole MS and taking a red pen works wonders with the revisions.

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

wow. Revisisons are actully really fun.

Ben Spendlove said...

Frankenstein?!? You mean it has reanimation or just similar themes? I love Frankenstein. And I definitely think having everything click is a good sign.

Oh wait. I just read the blurb again, and it DOES sound like Frankenstein! I volunteer to beta read!

Jenilyn Tolley said...

Congratulations on finishing! This sounds like it's very cool (and very different from Bob). I can't wait to see it!

I'm finishing up revisions on one of mine and trying to convince myself to start on another one. I had over 30K of it and realized I had the characters wrong, something that changed the entire book. So I'm back in chapter one of that. :)

Bethany C. said...

Audacious comparisons are the BEST! Congrats--edits are my favorite part.

My current WIP is dragging. I write contemporary and this is a light paranormal...world building is tough. I'm on about 5 months now--which feels like an eternity.

Kate Larkindale said...

Congrats on finishing! It's always an awesome feeling.

I'm planning to finish my latest WIP in mid September and feel like I'm on track to do it. Finally. This has been the toughest book I've ever written, and I already know there's a lot of revising to do, but I think it'll be good when it's done.

E.R. King said...

Great job! And good choice diving into your WiP after getting your rejection. It was a good move on your part. Congrats!

Cassie Mae said...

That's so awesome! I'm about 25,000 words into my WiP (which I started 8 days ago, lol, hopefully I'm not 'jumping the shark') I did the same thing, starting right after a pretty heart-wrenching rejection. It's the best source of stress relief. Good luck with rewrite/revise and all that lovely stuff that comes after you've finished that first draft!

Krista V. said...

Woohoo, Chantele! I'll have to hop over to your blog to find out more about this new project of yours...

Thanks for the tip, Robyn! I have to admit, I've never been able to bring myself to print out a manuscript (unless an agent requested a hard copy). Might have to give it a try with this one, since it's my shortest manuscript so far.

Ditto, Read my books!

Yes, Ben, FRANKENSTEIN:) (Although it's not so much reanimation as it is regeneration...) The race to discover the true nature of DNA in the early fifties is kind of the background for the novel. And I'd love to have you read Steve sometime. Will get back to you on that.

Jeni, Steve is very different than Bob. The storyline is much quieter, more literary. It's been a fun experiment. And good luck with those revisions. I so admire a writer who can trash that many words and start fresh when she knows it's the right thing to do.

Bethany, welcome to the wonderful world of unrealistic fiction:) World building IS tough, but I'm sure you'll get it.

Kate, that's exciting! Finishing the toughest manuscript you've ever written is doubly awesome:)

E.R., working on Steve really did help me take my mind off of Bob - and gain a little emotional distance. Finishing a first draft in a month was just a nice side effect:)

Cassie, good luck right back at you! Sounds like you're cruising!

Myrna Foster said...

Girl, you are amazing. And yes, the answer is still yes. ;o)

Laura Barnes said...

Yay for you!! So jealous. One month? That's how long it took me for my first novel, but this one is dragging. But I feel inspired today because of you :)

Shallee said...

Yay for first drafts being done! Sorry bout the disappointment, but a finished first draft is always a good boost. Way to go. :)

Krista V. said...

Aw, Myrna. *blushes* You always know how to brighten my day:)

Laura, that's what most of my first drafts do - drag. Especially Bob's. I think it took me a good eight months to get through that one. (Of course, it didn't help that I had a newborn in the house...) But keep at it. Go, fight, write!

Thanks, Shallee. I'm definitely enjoying the boost:)

Adam Heine said...

Congratulations! The story sounds interesting. I think the logline hits the setting right, though I want to know more about this regeneration/unnatural bit :-)

My WiP is moving along smoothly (though not as fast as yours, apparently!). I'm at about 20k with another 60k or so to go.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

So awesome, Krista! I'm so excited to read this!!! (That deserved three exclamation points.) Great job finishing the first draft. That's a huge milestone.

Amy

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

Congratulations! That's some great progress right there! (I confess, I'm a little jealous! Summertime has thrown a monkey wrench into my writing schedule.)

Krista V. said...

Adam, yeah, that would be good if I could squeeze a little more of the sci-fi element in there. And good luck with that new WIP of yours. Is it another YA steampunk or something else?

Thanks, Amy! Appreciate your enthusiasm! (Although something tells me maybe you're just excited right now, period;) )

Thanks, Jeanmarie! Since my kids are still so young, summers don't really affect my schedule, which is nice. Hopefully, you'll be able to get back on your routine now that the school year's started.

Monica B.W. said...

Congrats on finishing the first draft! :D

Melodie said...

It's a great sign you finished Steve so quickly. And if you love diving into that world, so much the better.
My newest WIP is a non-fantasy dystopian. It, too, is sucking me in. I feel a little schizophrenic moving between this new one and revising my YA mystery!

Adam Heine said...

My current WiP is sort of a post-apocalyptic future with a feudal Japan feel (I really wish I wrote in simple settings, but I don't). So it's got castles and horses (and ninjas) mixed with technology here and there.

Dana said...

Congratulations! My WIP is an almost all true novel about my Dad's growing up years in late 4s, early 50s. I am taking a little break and then getting back to the revision process. I found myself getting a little sick of it and not finding it funny anymore. I think the break is about over! My Dad keeps sending me emails to ask how the book is going. I just put a chapter on my blog in hopes of getting feedback. Yikes! I hope I don't regret that!:) Dana

Inky said...

Congratulations! I wish I could write that quickly. Alack, I draft in longhand, so it physically AND mentally takes longer (but is more portable!).

I just wrapped up my latest project and have begun querying it! You can read about "UGLY STICK" at my blog if you like. :)

http://joyeilene.blogspot.com

Thanks for everything you put into this site - it's a resource and an encouragement!

Krista V. said...

Thanks, Monica!

Melodie, balancing two projects is always tough. Good luck with that!

Adam, I must say, your new WIP sounds really cool. I've thought for a long time that Asian cultures are really underutilized in Western markets - and you're perfectly placed to take advantage of that disparity:)

Dana, sounds like you're writing in the exact same time period that I am! (Steve takes place in the spring of 1952.) And what a wonderful tribute to your dad. Good luck with that.

Inky, good for you for drafting the old-fashioned way! (I still write some first-draft scenes that way when I can't get to my computer.) And best of luck with UGLY STICK. Is this the first manuscript you've queried?

Liesl Shurtliff said...

Holy crows that was fast! And I'm super-excited for you and I really want to read it! Can I, can I, please?

I am seriously lagging on my WIP but I think things will speed up once the kids are back in school next week.

momslifeponderings said...

Wow! Look at you! You are responding to each comment - and providing such encouragement - and writing and (most importantly) mothering! You go girl!

Krista V. said...

Liesl, I like that exclamation, "Holy crows!" You should make sure to use it in a manuscript sometime:) And never fear - I plan to send you Steve as soon as he's in a readable condition!

Thanks for dropping by, momslifeponderings! I do my best.