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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-02-17 05:59
Subject: [writing|process] On writing and finishing a story
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal, process, stories, writing
Yesterday, I finished the first draft of my spec novella, "Hook Agonistes", at 18,100 words. This is the second story I've written since Fred woke up post-chemo around the middle of last month.

My reaction was pretty funny. I spent much of the morning in a mild but noticeable euphoric mania. I'm pretty sure I was rather a trial to Lisa Costello's legendary tolerance. Envision if you will me in a state of bouncy, happy, babbling squee. Because I'd finished something important to me.

At this point, I have no idea if the novella is any good. I never do right after I'm done. Muddle in the middle was particularly strong in this one. I went through the usual emotional stages while writing this, sort of Kubler-Ross for authors:

1. Excitement - "Yay! I can has writing!"
2. Dedication - "Must keep going, must be a good writer."
3. Doubt - "Oh, man, this thing is sucking wind. No one will ever buy it or read it."
4. Denial - "What, me? What story? Nope, no draft here. Just some fooling around. Never mind."
5. Acceptance - "Yay! I can has writing!"

But I'm done. And that's important, regardless of whether or how the novella pays off commercially and critically. I climbed the same hill I climb with every piece, even after drafting twenty novels and at least six hundred short stories. I learned the same lessons I have to re-learn every time. And it felt good. Because doing these things has gotten harder as I've grown progressively more ill with cancer. At a time in my professional life where I should finally be glimpsing some mastery of my craft, every word written is both a battle and a victory.

Did I mention that I had finished a story?

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User: keikaimalu
Date: 2013-02-17 14:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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User: radiantlisa
Date: 2013-02-17 15:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Your euphoric mania was charming, and so good to see. Write more, so I can see it more.
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Julie, JulieInTheGreen, "Squire!": cheerleader
User: brickhousewench
Date: 2013-02-17 16:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yay finishing a story! It cheers my heart to know that that thrill never goes away. =D
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Queen of the Skies
User: queenoftheskies
Date: 2013-02-17 17:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

You are such a fantastic writer that it's difficult to imagine you ever doubting like the rest of us. :)
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carmiel: Me peeking around corner
User: carmiel
Date: 2013-02-17 18:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Me peeking around corner
YAY for finishing a story! Hope I get to read it soon. :)
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2013-02-17 18:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think I'm going to print your five stages out and put them where I can see them from my computer. So when I hit stage 3 I can say, oh, okay, it's just stage 3.

And because they're hilarious as well as exactly correct.
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Jay Lake: writing-bookshelf
User: jaylake
Date: 2013-02-17 19:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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User: fledgist
Date: 2013-02-18 00:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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User: thecoughlin
Date: 2013-02-18 02:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Enjoy the "Haz words", you certainly earned it!!!
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User: talekyn
Date: 2013-02-18 05:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Very glad that you've finished a story, that Fred is not only awake post-chemo but clearly chomping at the bit. Woo-hoo!
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