Last night I crossed a serious milestone in my writing career. I took a story idea from the “I wonder…” stage to the “finished first edit, now hit PRINT” stage in just under one year. 359 days, in fact.

With my first manuscript, I spun my wheels for five years in the opening three chapters. My current work is 1/3 the size of my unwieldy first manuscript, was written in 1/7 of the time, and seems (so far, at least at the outset) to have far more marketability. So of course I’m giving this thing all I’ve got.

Last night I finished my first “hard edit” on my novel. It will need several more. But I know the first edit was a success because, not only did I attack the Passive Voice Monster like a maniac, but I cut twelve thousand words from my manuscript. My novel fell from 68,000+ words to just over 56,000. Now that’s what I call showing the manuscript some #stabbylove.

(Don’t know what I mean by #stabbylove? <<< Check out earlier post on that topic.)

My novel still has a long way to go, of course. In some ways it’s still bloated, and needs more trimming. In other ways it is deathly skeletal, with neglected corners in desperate need of some flesh and sinew. But overall I am very, very pleased.

I also need a break.

Not a break from writing, of course – just from this one manuscript. For a while. Maybe until mid-January or so. That will give a couple beta readers a chance to sift my first draft and tell me where my biggest plot holes are, because I doubt their list will match up exactly with mine. A bit of distance from this work will also enable me to give it the “cold read” it deserves before I start implementing any suggested changes.

In the meantime I will celebrate this milestone by coming up for air a bit, and spending the holidays with friends and family. This means I will take a short hiatus from my usual writerly updates until the new year. This will allow me to rejoin the Land of the Living, spend some much-needed time with loved ones, as well as get ahead on the kind of substantive blog updates that my followers seem to appreciate.

Oh, and the Agent Tweets idea, that I posted about last week – gotta get started on those too. 🙂

Till then – have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What milestones have you crossed with your writing lately???
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