Kristan Hoffman - Writing Dreams Into Reality

Fri Jan 27 2012

Swedish Fish, Finnish book

Finnish note 002

It is done.

Sort of.

At 5 AM on Wed morning, I finished the first draft of my manuscript. (The week before, Andy kept telling me to “Finnish” my book. So that’s the note I left for him at 5:01 AM.) But while finishing the first draft IS a big accomplishment, it’s also just the beginning of a new phase: editing. Such is the nature of writing, that each milestone only leads to the next, and your work is never really complete.

Because of that (and because of my extreme exhaustion) I had a hard time feeling celebratory. Don’t worry! As the day wore on, and the enormity of my 87,000 word achievement sunk in, I did find myself smiling, and my heart dancing, just a little bit. But it wasn’t this big carefree, elated high like I was expecting.

The best way I can think to describe it is this: I put up the walls and the roof. Does that make it a house? Technically. It contains all the necessary elements — kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, bathrooms. But it’s not ready for anyone to come inside yet. I still need to put in the doors and windows. (Not to mention paint and furnish.) You wouldn’t hold an open house for a building with no doors and windows, would you?

What you might do, though, is drink a glass of wine with a good friend to honor the fact that, no matter what happens next, you built something. Not just a vision or a blueprint, not just a foundation or a frame. A real house with rooms and stairs. A place that people could someday live in and love. Yes, it’s got a ways to go, but damn, look at how far it’s come.

So, friends, will you raise a glass with me?

Cheers.

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20 Comments
  1. T. S. Bazelli says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 12:42 AM

    *raises a glass* CHEERS!!! Congratulations on finishing! I hope you do take a few days just to soak in the enormity of what you’ve done. A few more !!!!!!!! Just cuz! Woo hoo!

  2. Jessica Baverstock says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Congratulations! 87,000 words. What an accomplishment. :)

  3. Shari says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 7:57 AM

    Cheers and HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!

    You have put so much time, so much effort, and so much heart into this – that already makes it more than a house. It’s a home. Finishing the first draft is a huge deal. Even though there’s more work ahead, think of what a journey you’ve already gone on with this book. Wishing you the very best of luck with editing. I can’t wait to see the next step for your characters – and for you.

    Congratulations again!!!!

    (Also – your handwriting is so pretty!)

  4. Sonje says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Of course I’ll raise a glass with you! What you’ve accomplished is huge!

    I generally get a pretty good high from typing that last period, but I do have anxiety about the draft until after I get my first beta feedback that the story works (of course there’s still editing, but to use your metaphor, the house has been built well, but maybe I need to switch out the carpet for hardwood floors, etc).

  5. Trisha says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Congratulations!

  6. Rachele Alpine says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Yay! Big cheers to that! I love the analogy of the roof on the house…I totally get it. Revising in a loooooong process, but I also really enjoy it. If you’re looking for a reader, let me know!

  7. Sarah Wedgbrow says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Yes!!! You’re Finnish. So proud of you Kristan. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for 2012! xx

  8. Natalia Sylvester says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Cheers, Kristan! That’s the perfect way to describe it–a house that’s not quite done, but well on its way. And you know, even if it’s not ready for anyone else to come by, you can certainly hang around in it for a bit and bask in your achievement…and start visualizing what else it’ll become :)

  9. Mieke Zamora-Mackay says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 10:37 AM

    *raising a glass* Congratulations on the first draft! Awesome job! Yay! *throws confetti into the air*

    I’m about to go onto the next phase too. Hopefully, our visitors will love the homes we create and want to live in them too.

  10. Juliann says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Woo hoo!! Congratulations! And wow– 87,000 words. I can’t wait to read it. Let us know when that will be possible. Meanwhile, bask in the joy of this accomplishment. I’ll raise a glass! Cheers!

  11. Les says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Congratulations! Keep going on that house!

  12. marci says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 12:17 PM

    you drink wine now?
    (sorry, had to ask)
    Congrats!!

  13. Em says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Glass is raised!!! Sorry, it’s not wine … I’m reading this at 1pm and am still in my pajamas. :-) But, you get the drift.

    Congratulations!!

  14. Aisha says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Cheers! :)

  15. Julia says:
    Fri Jan 27 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Opening my best bottle to toast your wild success. 87,000 words! Yay you! And, as someone who has recently built part of a house, may I just say, you’ve done the hardest part. With the walls in place and the roof on, you can stay warm and dry while you do the rest.

  16. Kristan says:
    Sat Jan 28 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Thanks, everybody! It was a rough night, but totally worth it.

    Also, 87K is the final count. But there’s probably another 10-20K that was written and discarded. Crazy!

    Marci-
    Lol I will have a couple sips of Andy’s glass, but more than that and I start to feel icky.

    Julia-
    “…you’ve done the hardest part. With the walls in place and the roof on, you can stay warm and dry while you do the rest.”

    YES, exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  17. Jon says:
    Tue Jan 31 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Wow! Congratulations. This is amazing. I can’t wait to read it.

  18. Natalie says:
    Thu Feb 2 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment! =D

  19. Meghan Ward says:
    Wed Feb 8 2012 at 1:14 AM

    Congratulations, Kristan! Which book is this? (Can you give me a one-line pitch? :) I’m jealous. Aside from blogging, I’ve done no writing since November. I miss it terribly and can’t wait to get back to work.

  20. Kristan says:
    Wed Feb 8 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Meghan-
    Er, this is SUPER rough, but… “In a country where daughters are abused, abandoned, or killed, one teenage girl must protect her sisters from their unjust world. The question is, will she choose to hide from society, or fight to change it?”

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