Writing a novel, a love story

4

July 15, 2008 by libbabray

I have less than one week to finish this draft of GOING BOVINE.

True to course, I have become a person who bears a strange resemblance to a certain person mentioned here: http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/?p=1213

This is always the fun part. Deadline crunch time. And by crunch, I don’t mean my hair. Cause I’ve washed it. Recently.

No, this is the part where I become convinced that I could advertise on Craig’s List for gangs of homeless gerbils to run across my keyboard in an agitated, looking-for-the-water-tube state, and they would do a better job. This is how it goes. Every. Single. Friggin’. Time.

In fact, writing a novel is very close to falling in love. How so? I’m glad you asked.

THE BEGINNING
Look at all my pretty ideas. Aren’t they pretty? That one’s a good dancer but that one has gorgeous eyes and a car. And that one, the intellect of Spock and he gets all my jokes. I like that one. So intriguing. Yes, I’ll pick that one.

THE EARLY STAGES
OMG, y’all. My book and I went out again yesterday, and you know what? My book is so, so clever! Seriously. It was only our third date and it brought me fresh metaphor. I know, right? I wasn’t expecting that at all. Plus, my book is so easy to talk to–it never feels like work. We just relate sooo well. I think this could be something special. I’m seeing my book again tomorrow. I can’t wait.

THE FIRST DRAFT
I love this book. And it loves me. I never want to be without this book. Never, ever. What? Were you saying something? I’m sorry I can’t hear you because my book just said the best thing ever. Wait–just listen to this sentence. I know! Isn’t my book so dreamy? I love you, book. Do you love me? Of course you do. OMG–we said that at the SAME TIME! WE ARE SO IN TUNE! This is going to be the best book ever written. Oh, whisper that again. I Pulitzer you too, honey. Sigh.

THE REVISION, MONTH ONE
Honey…do you still love me? Well, it’s just that you didn’t say it back a few times. And you’ve been sort of inattentive. Unresponsive. A bit. Do that funny thing you did early on. You know, that funny thing that made me laugh and laugh and think that you were the cleverest book that ever lived. You know. That thing. Well, honey, if I could remember it, I’d write it down. I was kind of hoping you’d remember. No. It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. Really.I love you. Do you still love me?

THE REVISION, MONTH TWO
My book? No, things are okay. I guess. I mean, I totally love my book and everything, but…it’s not quite as clever as I thought. Yeah, like yesterday? I came home and read page 367, and…it wasn’t very good. In fact, it was trite and it had stubble all over the page and there were dirty socks on page 45 right where my favorite part about the dog who speaks in limericks used to be and the TV was left on again. Battlestar Galactica reruns. Oh, I feel kinda bad saying this about my book, but, you know what? (whispers) I think it might be stupid. Don’t tell.

THE REVISION, MONTH THREE
OMG. Eight hours of writing for this crap? If it starts one more sentence with “I” things will get bloody. Boring. Derivative. Repetitive–I know! We totally covered that in chapter four AND in chapter twenty. You remember, right? So why doesn’t my book? Seriously, I cannot understand a word my book says anymore. Christ, how many more weeks of this hell do I have to put in before I can start up with some new idea, like that one about the succubus and the backpackers. So foxy. I’ll be that book is perfect. Unlike a certain annoying one I’m stuck with…

THE REVISION, ON DEADLINE
F*@*#&ing book. I hate you. I wish I’d never met you. YOU MAKE MY LIFE HELL! HELL! I wish there were another word for hell but my thesaurus says there’s not. My mother was right. I should never have gotten involved with you. God, what was I thinking starting up something with this book? Jesus. Did you hear that? Do you ever even listen to what you spew all over the page? God. Like freaking nails being driven into my eardrums and right into my brain. Miserable craptard. I wish you’d die.

THE REVISION, NEAR THE END
Sometimes, when I watch you sleep, you’re so perfect.

THE REVISION, LAST DAY OF DEADLINE
(sob) It was so beautiful once. (honk, wheeze) A beautiful, beautiful word dream. (sob) Where is my pretty word dream now? Where’s my pwetty, pwetty word dream? Where? Wwwwwhhhhheeeerrrrrreeee?????

THE THIRD DRAFT
(singing) It’s a stupid novel, and I don’t care…it’s a stupid novel, and I don’t care…It’s a stupid novel, and I don’t care…it’s a stupid novel and I don’t care…

THE FINAL DRAFT
Thanks for meeting me here. Look, I’m just gonna come out with it. This–you, me–it’s not working. I’m sorry. It’s not you, it’s…actually it’s you. You’re stupid. And I sort of hate you. But, you know, thanks for the great line on p. 400. I’m gonna go ahead and keep it because, really, you did give it to me and it doesn’t fit you anymore. Oh, and while you’re here, you might as well try the pie. It’s good. Yeah. I’ve had 500 pieces of it over the past few months. So I know.

THE COPY EDITS
Wow. Fancy running into you. It’s been ages. No, you look good. You lost weight? Wow. About 10,000 words. That IS something. Ha! I’d forgotten how funny you are. I’m serious–that was really, really smart about Elvis being a metaphor for fear of jumpsuits. Oh…sure. Yeah, I’ve gotta go, too. But it was great to see you again. Keep up the good work.

THE FINISHED BOOK
That one? Yeah, we totally had a thing. But, you know, it’s over now. So, tell me what you were saying about the succubus and the backpackers? OMG, that is the best thing ever! You know, you have such beautiful eyes…

4 thoughts on “Writing a novel, a love story

  1. [...] At Libba Bray, which with that name is already wittier than I will ever be, this amusing, and too true for comfort comparison to writing and falling in love. [...]

  2. jodiwriter says:

    Oh, Dear Lord, I so can relate.

    I am in the third revision stage and the only thing I am certain about is my next WIP. It is too foxy to even mention. My current novel, though, is sucking my very soul out of me. I think it may actually be the succubus you mention. I am happy, in that misery likes company sort of masochistic way, that your revisions go as swimmingly as mine.

  3. OMG… I needed this today. This is probably one of the most amazing and accurate things I’ve ever read in my life!

  4. […] I don’t like the first draft. I don’t like beginning or starting anything. I’m also a very slow writer. I have to tell myself the story and then cut out a lot of it. For anyone interested in the opposite view on the appeal of those beginning stages, Libba Bray (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Going Bovine, The Diviners) wrote a hilarious love-note to the first draft: “Writing a novel, a love story.” (http://libbabray.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/writing-a-novel-a-love-story/) […]

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