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What happens to you when you complete a novel? (1 Viewer)

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I am inching away at the last few chapters before I write the final chapter. I have been thinking about this novel for ten years and have been writing it for the last eighteen months. Miraculously, I find myself at the end, just as I had planned...well...planned meaning a general idea as I pantsed my way through it. But I am quite surprised at all the things I'm thinking...feeling.

There's the pragmatic stuff like: Have I covered off all the loose ends? Am I rushing to bring it to a conclusion? Which characters need to be seen again?

And then there's all this other stuff I'm feeling which I can't really explain other than using unimaginative words -- my heart is racing and I feel light-headed.

Is this normal? What are the types of things you think, or feel when you get to the end of your novel?
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
Satisfaction. Accomplishment. Excitement. I'm also nearing the end (within 15,000 words or so) of my third novel. I know now that I will get there and I'm excited to start the rewrite. I'm also already looking forward to starting my next book.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I am inching away at the last few chapters before I write the final chapter. I have been thinking about this novel for ten years and have been writing it for the last eighteen months. Miraculously, I find myself at the end, just as I had planned...well...planned meaning a general idea as I pantsed my way through it. But I am quite surprised at all the things I'm thinking...feeling.

There's the pragmatic stuff like: Have I covered off all the loose ends? Am I rushing to bring it to a conclusion? Which characters need to be seen again?

And then there's all this other stuff I'm feeling which I can't really explain other than using unimaginative words -- my heart is racing and I feel light-headed.

Is this normal? What are the types of things you think, or feel when you get to the end of your novel?
All of the above - completely normal. You'll have accomplished something that many say the want to do, but very few ever do... and that is FRICKIN' AMAZING. Congratulations!!

I hate to break it to you though, you're not done yet. If you're gonna publish... and after everything you've gone through to get this far, WHY NOT? Not publishing would be like Pavarotti singing in the shower and never going on stage.

So, the choice before you is traditional publishing via an agent, or self publish. Either way you go you gotta have a clean manuscript; agents will toss aside a poorly written story, and if you go the self publish route your book should appear professional. What lies ahead is editing, lather rinse repeat, editing.

If you go with a professional editor, the worse shape your MS is in, the more it will cost you. Being the cheap Irishman I am, I edit the heck out of the MS (8 passes on average) before sending it out for an editor to look at. Editors can be difficult to find and deal with though as many come at the novel with a personal preference that you may not share, so finding one is a bugger. The lady I use is retired from the publishing business and does editing on the side - she's a family friend - our daughters used to play together. You might find recommendations on WF.

In your profession as a technical writer, you might be able to go on your own without an editor - actually, from what I've learned via my local writers guild, many self published authors do it all themselves - and are quite successful.

Beyond all that, if you're self publishing you'll need a cover design - but that's a conversation for another day.

The writing was the hard part - the rest of it is tedious and kinda confusing, but you'll get through it.

I'm incredibly excited for you. Again - congratulations!
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
giphy.gif
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
I'm glad you wrote this question. I've been wanting to talk about the weird fluctuations in feelings I have about my first finished story. Is it normal to both love and hate your story in turns?
My finished product isn't a novel, but a novelette, but at least it is finished, although I want to expand it too. Sigh.

Anyway, it's been a journey. For one thing, I learned so much emotionally that I wasn't expecting to learn. I don't know if other stories I write in the future will do this for me, but this one taught me a lot about what I truly want in life at this very point in my life. It ended up bringing closure for old wounds and in that way kind of ending an era in my life and starting a more satisfied one. So that's been big and very unexpected.

There was some real chaos on the last decisions in editing. One of the suggestions was from my husband on the day before my novelette was due with final edits to the publisher. We were taking a walk for a break for me. I thought I was doing well with the timing so that I'd be done in time. When he suggested this change, he assumed it was already a part of my book. It added another layer, another degree of making people care about what happened to my character. I stood there with my mind blowing apart thinking of each sentence (sentences I had been through so many times to polish up!)...each sentence in the story that I would need to change in order to incorporate his suggestion and he was still talking on as if he had no idea he had just blown up my world. I said to him "Wait... I know I HAVE to put that in! It's not actually in there like that and it's so much better!. I'm thinking of what parts of the book I have to go through to change it so I don't think we can talk anymore until we get home and I can make those changes! And what if I don't have time?!?"

In those weeks of edits I kind of hated my story. I felt like how I felt about my parents right before leaving for college. Sick of them, ready to snap at them, incredibly grateful to them, heartbroken to leave all I knew, aching with love for them, and excited too. I had tears pouring down my cheeks as I wrote my favorite scene, but when editing the scene, I wondered if it was the worst, if everyone would think it was silly, either unemotional to them or overly emotional. It made it into the story based on pure blind trust in the person who wrote it (the me who wrote it compared to the jaded frustrated teenager person I was during editing) and I've got to say it's now my favorite part for sure again no matter what anyone else thinks.

When I was hating my story while editing then if people read it and said "It's good" I wanted to strangle them and wondered if I'd forced someone to read it. I was so grateful to anyone who read it, but I was so grateful for brutal honesty and I still crave brutal honesty and a critique group that I don't yet have that can give and receive constructive criticism. I realized because of all the cuts I made to my story that it is easy to make changes and PLEASE let me know. "You missed a spot, dear." "THANK YOU SO MUCH! I will clean that up right away" is now my attitude.

Anyway, is this normal? I don't know. I've talked about the manuscripts in my mind for years and it's very different than actually producing. I think this has a lot of the roller-coaster of giving birth. The idealism! So happy! Then there's a heath problem! Crisis! Emotional focus and mental and physical work! Loss of sleep! Emotional over-corrections and eventual stabilization! Acceptance! Genuine love, while still acknowledging flaws and finding humor, and realizing a long way to go and more to learn. So different than the conceptualization and incubation periods. =)
 

Cephus

Senior Member
You'll catch all of that in revision, don't worry. Honestly, these days, I get about an hour of enjoyment out of it because I finish so many novels, I'm used to it. I also know that tomorrow, it all starts over again.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I have a great feeling of satisfaction, and relief(!) when I decide I've typed the last line. But the writing was mostly fun. The real work starts after that, because proofreading and revision is definitely not fun for me. It reminds me of drudge work. :)

Take the Sci-fi novel I wrote in 16 days in May 2020. 85K words. In the "writing success" thread, we'd call that better than 5K per day. But you know what? It's not.

Real word count is PUBLISHABLE word count. I spent another three weeks in proofreading and revision, although that wasn't full time ... probably 12 man-days total. That cuts the real production down to 3K words per day. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with raw production numbers. Getting the book written and ready to edit is the most important part of the process, but I was more stoked at the end of my first novel's first draft than the end my eighth novel's first draft. LOL I did not realize, yet, that the real work was just beginning. Over the next two to three man-weeks, I'm going to be reading the whole thing at least four times, and making corrections and small adjustments. That doesn't count reviewing the sentences I've corrected or adjusted while using my proofreading app, because I go over each correction a second time, since it's as easy to introduce a mistake in that process as when doing the original writing.

The point at which I feel the biggest lift is when I'm done with the proofreading app. I'm only going to do two read-throughs after that, and neither of them will require many further corrections. I'm looking forward to my next time through the app, though, because since I last used it, I've installed the Microsoft Grammar extension for Chrome, and it will catch a few things for me I'd have had to find solo before.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm also already looking forward to starting my next book.
Yes, it's funny you would mention that. I have been thinking about the two sequels that will follow. I even did a mock-up cover of all three of the series. That part was good for my mental health. This novel has given me so much purpose and kept me out of the doldrums. If I wasn't already focused on the next one, I think I would be feeling remiss when it's finished.

Although, a little terrified to do this again. My plot was so complex in the first one, and I wonder if I can come up with something equally intricate. I was thinking I would be more of a planner in the next one to make it easier and expedite the delivery, but I fear the delay in actually writing will be hard for me. And besides, I'm happy with the result, so why change the process.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
All of the above - completely normal. You'll have accomplished something that many say the want to do, but very few ever do... and that is FRICKIN' AMAZING. Congratulations!!

I hate to break it to you though, you're not done yet. If you're gonna publish... and after everything you've gone through to get this far, WHY NOT? Not publishing would be like Pavarotti singing in the shower and never going on stage.

So, the choice before you is traditional publishing via an agent, or self publish. Either way you go you gotta have a clean manuscript; agents will toss aside a poorly written story, and if you go the self publish route your book should appear professional. What lies ahead is editing, lather rinse repeat, editing.

If you go with a professional editor, the worse shape your MS is in, the more it will cost you. Being the cheap Irishman I am, I edit the heck out of the MS (8 passes on average) before sending it out for an editor to look at. Editors can be difficult to find and deal with though as many come at the novel with a personal preference that you may not share, so finding one is a bugger. The lady I use is retired from the publishing business and does editing on the side - she's a family friend - our daughters used to play together. You might find recommendations on WF.

In your profession as a technical writer, you might be able to go on your own without an editor - actually, from what I've learned via my local writers guild, many self published authors do it all themselves - and are quite successful.

Beyond all that, if you're self publishing you'll need a cover design - but that's a conversation for another day.

The writing was the hard part - the rest of it is tedious and kinda confusing, but you'll get through it.

I'm incredibly excited for you. Again - congratulations!
Thanks! Although I'm not quite ready for the congrats, it does feel like I have accomplished something already, just getting to this point and seeing the last few words go down pretty smoothly. I'll definitely post on "Share the Joy" when I write "The End".

I'm ready for the next leg of the journey and looking forward to it. My good fortune is that my husband is a former English professor, so he will be the editor. When I first asked him if he would do it, about a year ago, he kind of rolled his eyes and silently groaned. Now he seems to be raring to go. He says because he has caught a few glimpses of it when I have asked him to photocopy parts and he liked what he saw. He's going to read it first, just for pleasure, and then do various sweeps.

Afterward, it will go to two beta readers. One is an English major, reads mostly literary fiction, and I hope the target market. The other one is a CPA with an MBA, a CEO of a large corporation, an ardent reader of crime thrillers, and she is my exact target reader. I will wait for their comments before the final edit.

I've used my design background to work out the cover, and the two sequel covers as well. I'm still on the hunt for the right cover artist who can bring them to life.

If I find an agent and publisher that's great...but I won't wait forever.
 
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Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
My finished product isn't a novel, but a novelette, but at least it is finished, although I want to expand it too. Sigh.
Congratulations! If it is already published you can get an award from Darren White.
Anyway, it's been a journey. For one thing, I learned so much emotionally that I wasn't expecting to learn. I don't know if other stories I write in the future will do this for me, but this one taught me a lot about what I truly want in life at this very point in my life. It ended up bringing closure for old wounds and in that way kind of ending an era in my life and starting a more satisfied one. So that's been big and very unexpected.
I had this experience too. Perhaps not quite the same, but have found writing fiction to be one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. Back when I was in my late 30s I used to write all the time, but financially as a single mom, couldn't think of it as a profession. I knew I wanted to do something different so I went to school at night got my CPA, and became a specialist in professional ethics. I did it to get financial security, but the funny thing is, that part of my career is the greatest inspiration for my fiction writing now.
There was some real chaos on the last decisions in editing. One of the suggestions was from my husband on the day before my novelette was due with final edits to the publisher. We were taking a walk for a break for me. I thought I was doing well with the timing so that I'd be done in time. When he suggested this change, he assumed it was already a part of my book. It added another layer, another degree of making people care about what happened to my character. I stood there with my mind blowing apart thinking of each sentence (sentences I had been through so many times to polish up!)...each sentence in the story that I would need to change in order to incorporate his suggestion and he was still talking on as if he had no idea he had just blown up my world. I said to him "Wait... I know I HAVE to put that in! It's not actually in there like that and it's so much better!. I'm thinking of what parts of the book I have to go through to change it so I don't think we can talk anymore until we get home and I can make those changes! And what if I don't have time?!?"
What a great story! Now you've got my curiosity piqued.
In those weeks of edits I kind of hated my story. I felt like how I felt about my parents right before leaving for college. Sick of them, ready to snap at them, incredibly grateful to them, heartbroken to leave all I knew, aching with love for them, and excited too. I had tears pouring down my cheeks as I wrote my favorite scene, but when editing the scene, I wondered if it was the worst, if everyone would think it was silly, either unemotional to them or overly emotional. It made it into the story based on pure blind trust in the person who wrote it (the me who wrote it compared to the jaded frustrated teenager person I was during editing) and I've got to say it's now my favorite part for sure again no matter what anyone else thinks.
Strong emotions. What do others say about the scene now?
When I was hating my story while editing then if people read it and said "It's good" I wanted to strangle them and wondered if I'd forced someone to read it. I was so grateful to anyone who read it, but I was so grateful for brutal honesty and I still crave brutal honesty and a critique group that I don't yet have that can give and receive constructive criticism. I realized because of all the cuts I made to my story that it is easy to make changes and PLEASE let me know. "You missed a spot, dear." "THANK YOU SO MUCH! I will clean that up right away" is now my attitude.
I hope I can start with this attitude, but it is my baby...so we'll see...lol!
Anyway, is this normal? I don't know. I've talked about the manuscripts in my mind for years and it's very different than actually producing. I think this has a lot of the roller-coaster of giving birth. The idealism! So happy! Then there's a heath problem! Crisis! Emotional focus and mental and physical work! Loss of sleep! Emotional over-corrections and eventual stabilization! Acceptance! Genuine love, while still acknowledging flaws and finding humor, and realizing a long way to go and more to learn. So different than the conceptualization and incubation periods. =)
It does sort of feel like giving birth although the gestation period is much longer. :)
 

Cephus

Senior Member
Yes, it's funny you would mention that. I have been thinking about the two sequels that will follow. I even did a mock-up cover of all three of the series. That part was good for my mental health. This novel has given me so much purpose and kept me out of the doldrums. If I wasn't already focused on the next one, I think I would be feeling remiss when it's finished.

Although, a little terrified to do this again. My plot was so complex in the first one, and I wonder if I can come up with something equally intricate. I was thinking I would be more of a planner in the next one to make it easier and expedite the delivery, but I fear the delay in actually writing will be hard for me. And besides, I'm happy with the result, so why change the process.
Now that you know you can do it, it becomes a whole lot easier. You've already written a book. Now just do it again. The next one will be even better because you've learned how to do it once. The more you do it, the better it is.
 

Llyralen

Senior Member
Congratulations! If it is already published you can get an award from Darren White.
I didn't know that. It will be published as part of an anthology in May 2022 and will have an audiobook I don't know the rules of promotion around here (I've never been in a position to worry), so that's all I'm going to say.
I had this experience too. Perhaps not quite the same, but have found writing fiction to be one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. Back when I was in my late 30s I used to write all the time, but financially as a single mom, couldn't think of it as a profession. I knew I wanted to do something different so I went to school at night got my CPA, and became a specialist in professional ethics. I did it to get financial security, but the funny thing is, that part of my career is the greatest inspiration for my fiction writing now.
Interesting. It makes sense to me too, though, since all of our experiences inspire us and can go into our writing to give us a certain perspective and make our writing richer. I don't think I will ever regret having learning experiences of any sort, I don't think we can since they often make us who we are. It's interesting to think that we wouldn't be writing what we are if we had only been writing for the last 15 years.
What a great story! Now you've got my curiosity piqued.

Strong emotions. What do others say about the scene now?
Thanks and thanks for asking.
Liking this particular scene might require someone to like poetic lyrics? My best friend skipped the lyrics and it's the only part she said she would take out and was the only thing she skipped. I know I often skipped the poems in Tolkien and they probably meant the most to Tolkien. My husband says it's on par with the other scenes, he likes it the same. But my mom, who had been very impatient with my writing when I was young and had never read anything of mine before seemed moved, chose to say at that moment it was as good as any book she had ever read, had tears, and later quoted things mentioned in the lyrics a few times. I can't take the song out, really, the song is the story's namesake, contains some of the major themes. My MC performs it at a concert to tell her boyfriend/best friend that she will wait for him while he is in Vietnam which leads to a scene where it should feel like you know exactly the strength of my character's character. My mom has talked about my writing every time I've talked to her since, so I believe I became a "real writer" in her eyes with that scene. It has become my favorite part again, so I'm really glad I didn't delete most of it like I almost did.

I'm just going to tell you a few more things because I bet you will be there very soon and yes yours is a whole novel so really a bigger deal, and much bigger with editing, I'm imagining.
I had 4 other people from the anthology group read the whole thing who said they liked it from start to finish after I submitted. This is a bit infuriating, but at least they brought up things from the book so that I knew they really did pay attention. One of them said "I'm going to go re-read it! I hope I have dreams about it!" So THAT.... that felt like getting my first fan and she offered to beta read whatever comes in the future and I enjoyed her story too. Now I'm just hoping you get great experiences with feedback. A different person told me she was late to work because she couldn't put it down. but has told me multiple times she was upset that it was short and she felt like it was cut short. Good. It's supposed to be for an anthology so... these are VERY good things. VERY good, but somehow I still want more brutal honesty. At draft stage I had a beta reader also from the anthology group tell me it was too dense and basically unreadable due to being too dense.... even though I had gone through a few drafts at that point, it wasn't enough and I know I had so many metaphors and concepts scattered all through it and was having a hard time picking which ones to keep, but the editing happened and is an art form all on it's own and I kept getting better at it and more satisfied with editing. I don't know why, but him saying that is actually one of the most satisfying things I'd heard. I know I can trust his honesty for one thing, and I partially agreed with him and knew I could go in with a machete. So after I edited again, he read it and told my best friend (not me) that the writing was "so delicious". He told me he wanted to write some spin-off stories with it as a base for another anthology. So I think that's very good for me to remember. I've been so starved for more feedback and brainstorming it feels like that it's good to remember that I maybe got enough feedback. For now, I guess, anyway. My husband and daughter had some of the best feedback. Seeing my daughter's face change while reading, get extra interested at moments or suddenly smile. That was good feedback. I think something magic happens (or it did to me) after you get good constructive critiques. Since I will be expanding the story, I really just want as many honest eyes on it as possible. It was their questions that were the most helpful, I think. I think I answer the questions at the moment, but later I realize their questions are opportunities to strengthen my work. Okay, enough about me, except that it really helps me process all of this. Thank you for the opportunity to write about these experiences.
I hope I can start with this attitude, but it is my baby...so we'll see...lol!

It does sort of feel like giving birth although the gestation period is much longer. :)
I'm nodding. It's brought a bigger change in my out-look than I knew was possible.
 
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Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
I finished my first novel about ten years ago, so I don't recall my exact feelings (though I suspect I was happy). However, I wrapped up the first draft of my second novel earlier this year, and in that case, I just felt satisfaction and relief. I had planned things well enough that I wasn't worried about plot holes or shallow characters, though I still knew at least one more pass would be required to catch anything I missed in terms of pacing, etc.

But overall, I was just happy to be done with the thing. Writing is fine, but I have no love for the process itself; the appeal is reading and enjoying what I've written afterward. And of course, now that the project is finished, it's on to the next idea!
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
You'll catch all of that in revision, don't worry. Honestly, these days, I get about an hour of enjoyment out of it because I finish so many novels, I'm used to it. I also know that tomorrow, it all starts over again.
Yes, I'd imagine I will catch some in revision, but that doesn't stop it from swirling around in my head...lol! But thanks for your encouraging attitude. Your posts have been very motivational for me in getting my derrière at the keyboard.
Now that you know you can do it, it becomes a whole lot easier. You've already written a book. Now just do it again. The next one will be even better because you've learned how to do it once. The more you do it, the better it is.
That's a good point! Yes, I'm looking forward to having more of a game plan this time. I was so wet behind the ears when I started this one. I remember the lunch meeting I had with a friend of mine who is a published novelist -- right when I started and I was so proud of my first 3,000 words and wanted to get some advice. The first thing she asked was, "What's the POV?" I said, "The what?" Sure, I took creative writing in high school, but all of that knowledge had been clouded by thirty-plus years of other vocations. And that conversation was the beginning of realizing how much I didn't know what I was doing.

I'm not as prolific as you and never could be. You are a wonder-child! I'd love to read some of your work. My average rate has been about 300 words a day, factoring in the days I don't write. So I figure I could make a commitment to complete the next one in one year. And I'm making a declaration here so that it holds some weight. You know what they say about writing goals down.
 
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Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I have a great feeling of satisfaction, and relief(!) when I decide I've typed the last line. But the writing was mostly fun. The real work starts after that, because proofreading and revision is definitely not fun for me. It reminds me of drudge work. :)
Yes, I have no idea what all of this entails. But I'd imagine there is a delicate balance between the urge to tighten and the artistry to retain the raw intention of the first draft.
Take the Sci-fi novel I wrote in 16 days in May 2020. 85K words. In the "writing success" thread, we'd call that better than 5K per day. But you know what? It's not.

Real word count is PUBLISHABLE word count. I spent another three weeks in proofreading and revision, although that wasn't full time ... probably 12 man-days total. That cuts the real production down to 3K words per day. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with raw production numbers. Getting the book written and ready to edit is the most important part of the process, but I was more stoked at the end of my first novel's first draft than the end my eighth novel's first draft. LOL I did not realize, yet, that the real work was just beginning. Over the next two to three man-weeks, I'm going to be reading the whole thing at least four times, and making corrections and small adjustments. That doesn't count reviewing the sentences I've corrected or adjusted while using my proofreading app, because I go over each correction a second time, since it's as easy to introduce a mistake in that process as when doing the original writing
Typically when people post about it here, like you, they are cutting words out. That scares me! I had a target of 100K. I will come in just under that. My thought is that when I read for the first time just to test for continuity, I will be adding parts to fill in gaps. And then, perhaps again, after beta readers find disconnects. What types of things do you eliminate in such large quantities?
The point at which I feel the biggest lift is when I'm done with the proofreading app. I'm only going to do two read-throughs after that, and neither of them will require many further corrections. I'm looking forward to my next time through the app, though, because since I last used it, I've installed the Microsoft Grammar extension for Chrome, and it will catch a few things for me I'd have had to find solo before.
A fellow chrome user, I find Google docs is good for the basic stuff and Grammarly is helpful for some more advanced suggestions. Is the Microsoft Grammer extension superior to the others? If yes, what does it have in addition that you like?
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I'm not as prolific as you and never could be. You are a wonder-child! I'd love to read some of your work. My average rate has been about 300 words a day, factoring in the days I don't write. So I figure I could make a commitment to complete the next one in one year. And I'm making a declaration here so that it holds some weight. You know what they say about writing goals down.
I wasn't this prolific 40 years ago either. It comes if you work at it hard enough.
 

Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
Typically when people post about it here, like you, they are cutting words out. That scares me! I had a target of 100K. I will come in just under that. My thought is that when I read for the first time just to test for continuity, I will be adding parts to fill in gaps. And then, perhaps again, after beta readers find disconnects. What types of things do you eliminate in such large quantities?

For my first novel, it was a lot of redundancies. The original draft weighed in at nearly 200K words, and the current iteration is just under 95K. I found I had scenes that didn't contribute to the overall plot, multiple characters filling the same role in the story, and sometimes just overall wordiness where it wasn't needed. Ultimately, you have a story you're trying to tell, and everything should be contributing to that story - and in my experience, that's something you have to consciously engineer, not something that just happens. Anything that doesn't add to that - even, sometimes, good scenes with good writing - should be taken out.

As far as filling in gaps, I find I do that better by re-purposing existing scenes, rather than adding new ones. Okay, the characters went here and they learned this thing about the setting. So far so good. But what if they learned that, and in the process had some encounter or confrontation that developed them as characters as well? Or, these people had this conversation, then they went over there and had that conversation. But what if a single conversation could serve the same purpose that the original two previously did? That's the kind of thing you're looking for when you're refining your story.
 
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vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Yes, I have no idea what all of this entails. But I'd imagine there is a delicate balance between the urge to tighten and the artistry to retain the raw intention of the first draft.
You might find writers who think that, but I'm not one of them. LOL Per below
Typically when people post about it here, like you, they are cutting words out. That scares me! I had a target of 100K. I will come in just under that. My thought is that when I read for the first time just to test for continuity, I will be adding parts to fill in gaps. And then, perhaps again, after beta readers find disconnects. What types of things do you eliminate in such large quantities?
I'm getting rid, mostly, of filler words and redundancies. (Like my infamous post about "I headed toward the door of the building"). A few manuscripts ago, I was also eliminating useless modifiers, especially adverbs, but I now simply don't write as many of those in the first draft. And of course, paying attention to copulas ... you probably guessed that. LOL

As far as a discussion of artistry goes. I don't even think of it as artistry, but effective writing. I want to get the story told, and I want to include interesting language, humorous where it strikes me, and clear to the reader. So if I spot a sentence I don't think is clear, it gets rewritten. For me, that generally means reordering phrases or clauses. So I think I'm saying for me the story telling is "artistry", the language is technical.
A fellow chrome user, I find Google docs is good for the basic stuff and Grammarly is helpful for some more advanced suggestions. Is the Microsoft Grammer extension superior to the others? If yes, what does it have in addition that you like?
I haven't used Grammarly in years, and the reason was it annoyed me more than helped me. Far too many false positives. The Microsoft tool flags fewer things, and still flags a few things I ignore. The thing about fiction is that you do NOT write with perfect grammar, but where you DON'T must be on purpose, either to establish character in dialogue, or mood/pacing in exposition. So grammar tools that want to flag everything are telling me things I don't need to know. Actually, spelling check is a bit the same way, as some characters are going to do things like drop their G's.
 

Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
As far as a discussion of artistry goes. I don't even think of it as artistry, but effective writing. I want to get the story told, and I want to include interesting language, humorous where it strikes me, and clear to the reader. So if I spot a sentence I don't think is clear, it gets rewritten. For me, that generally means reordering phrases or clauses. So I think I'm saying for me the story telling is "artistry", the language is technical.
I'm right there with you. What many people think of as "art" is really just the end result of LOT of time and work refining the craft. The David isn't a masterpiece because of its "raw artistry," but because the sculptor knew exactly the pose he wanted, the emotions he wanted, and so on. He came in with a plan and the talent to bring that plan to life.

Writing is the same way. Raw intention is sloppy intention, and the sort of person that can naturally produce a great novel on their first go is the one who has already written twenty others, not the beginner with more enthusiasm than talent.
 
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