Sunday, November 29, 2009

Capote - "Finishing a book..."

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the yard and shot it.
-- Truman Capote


Yikes!!

I'm currently finishing off the rough draft of my NaNo novel. I don't think I'll feel at all like Capote when it's done. Of course, I still have several rounds of revisions and edits to do. So it won't really be done for a while yet.

His quote is probably referring to finishing the final stage of the novel - and giving it over to editors and publishers. I haven't got to that stage yet. Or maybe he means when even that process is done, and you have absolutely no control over it because it's printed. Will I feel like I've killed my baby?

My previous ms is still awaiting another revision round. I'm hoping to let it go off into the real world someday in the not too distant future. Will I feel like Capote?

What about you? If you've been published, did you feel like you'd shot your child? If you're yet-to-be-published, how do you imagine yourself feeling?

37 comments:

  1. For me, it's a relief--sort of a kicking the fledgling bird out of the nest. No empty nest syndrome for me! I'm usually pretty tired of dealing with the book after several revisions. :)

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  2. Elizabeth - I think that's exactly how I'll feel - but I guess I'll have to wait and see!

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  3. I felt relieved and excited when I completed my book and then saw it in other people's hands. When readers started asking me questions, like whatever happened to (name of character)I was surprised but pleased they'd gotten into the story enough to believe the characters were people.

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  4. Sliding - that's awesome. Definitely something for me to look forward to. You must have created some memorable people - I guess I mean characters. :)

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  5. Like Elizabeth, I've been happy to release my three little ones. I go through one stage, when I'm nearing the final read through, when I'm sick of the sight of them. Then there's a period of calm. And then the next project begins and I move on. For me, it doesn't really feel real until readers begin commenting on what I've written. I like the contact with readers.

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  6. Gina - sounds like something I want to experience! I'm hoping to move along that path soon :)

    Thanks so much for dropping by!

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  7. What an incredible comparison!! Yikes is right. I've finally completed my FIRST rough draft of my novel and it felt exhilirating. However, I'm REALLY excited to get it perfect and if an agent/publisher helps me achieve that, ROCK ON! :0)

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  8. Kristi - I agree with you - finishing that draft is such a good feeling. The entire process is fun, but nothing like that fiinished first draft :)

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  9. I agree with you on the quote -- yikes! To me, it's more like having your kid graduate college. Now, he's going off to a life of his own.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

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  10. Helen - I like that image much better!! College it is :)

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  11. FORGET ALL THOUGHTS OF EMPTY NEST SYNDROME:
    Do you think if I offer to shoot one of the kids, instead of the book, the agents would come a-knocking?!
    The saddest thing is I think they might:"Romantic novelist in Child Sacrifice ritual"

    Apologies to my, and all other offspring, for my momentary flight of anti-fancy! lol

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  12. Elaine - LOL! Yikes again!!

    It's been a rough NaNo month - is that the reason we find that funny?? :)

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  13. Not having been published yet, I have to say I felt relieved and over-the-moon and around the world several times excited, but a little sad, too. It's an incredible journey.

    Congrats on making it to the end! Enjoy the moment!!

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  14. Carol - Thanks! Yup, this writing biz is a never-ending roller coaster of emotions, isn't it? :)

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  15. If I wrote like Capote, (I'm a huge fan), I might feel the same way.

    Maybe he meant that putting the book out in the world is the final goodbye. It's out of your hands. No more coddling, no more changes. I have often felt that way about big design projects. I leave and that's that. It's all very sad in a way.

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  16. Elizabeth - Oooo - good point! My stories do become a part of me. They're always in my head and my heart. So not being able to tinker any more will be hard. But I think being published would be a nice trade off :)

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  17. Finished the NaNo commitment,but the book is far from done. My child is still young and needs lots of nurturing and care. This is my first novel and I hope I can do something with it, but I'll see how I feel about it when I'm really finished.
    I also preferred Helen's image of sending the kid to college.
    Lee

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  18. Lee - Good for you! Lots of time to enjoy your child before he heads off to the real world.

    I think many of us will line up behind Helen's image :)

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  19. I imagined that Capote meant something along these lines: Once you finish the book, it's really abrupt and kind of disconcerting... and then you realize how much of a mess there is to clean up. I'm doing my best to get published - have an agent, but no editors willing to publish me yet - and I think I will mostly just feel relieved and thrilled if my book ever gets published! Of course, we'll see once it happens. Hopefully.

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  20. Anne - I'm sure it will happen! If your stuff is good enough to get an agent, I'm sure it's only a matter of time :)

    I imagine you're right about it being so abrupt. The ms becomes a real part of your life, then suddenly it's done. A little scary :)

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  21. The quote is a little gruesome.. I just finished but not sure how to classify it.

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  22. Strong visual! Now I never want to let my baby go- I mean my MS!

    Really, it reminds me to nurture and groom my MS to its best potential, because no one will love her at first glance like I will. It must shine!

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  23. Carolyn - Yup - gruesome indeed. I think it's probably a mix of emotions.

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  24. Tamika - Kind of makes me want to keep him/her/it forever too :)

    I love the analogy you've used!! So very, very true!

    Thanks so much for dropping by & following!

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  25. I don't know about Capote, but I'll feel like shooting myself if my novel isn't published one day!

    Good stuff Jemi :)

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  26. Q - LOL - that's hilarious! And so, so true :)

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  27. Aw, crap, does this mean we just shot our baby? I really hate it when that happens.

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  28. Okay. We must be alike Ms. Jemi! I have a post drafted to go out on Friday that uses this EXACT quote!! I'll push it out a few weeks - but I had to smile when I read this!

    Like you, I'm not technically there yet because I am still editing - but when that first draft was finished, whoa boy did I feel the sudden loss. Don't get me wrong - it was accompanied by a thrill like I'd never felt before. But waking up the next morning without the instant need to sit at the computer to keep pumping words out... I felt kind of empty!

    PS I left something for you on my blog :-)

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  29. Lisa & Laura - I really, really have to stop multi-tasking - I shouldn't drink tea when I'm reading the comments. Off to clean up the mess now :)

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  30. Sara - LOL - the psychic connection must be working again :)

    While I really enjoy editing, I'm going to so miss the 1st draft stage - I LOVE the creation stage, where things just flow :)

    Thank you! You're such a sweetie :)

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  31. I'm not published yet but "finishing" my last novel felt good. It's the weeks afterward, when I wonder if I should have done something (or everything) different, that are painful :)

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  32. Thanks for the thought provoking post, Jemi.

    I think I will feel full, as if I just ate an entire pumpkin pie topped with mounds of scrumptious whipped cream.

    The experience will be sweet and overindulgent at the same time. Satisfyied and queasy all at once. : )

    Congrats on your NaNo finish and best on the rewrites.

    P.S. you may want to change my blog address. I had to change it after they cyber monster ate it like a full pumpkin pie in one sitting. Sheesh. www.catwoods.wordpress.com

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  33. Natalie - that in between time is tough - I'm wondering what to do about a "finished" ms too :)

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  34. Cate - Great analogy - I think it will be a real mix of emotions for me too!

    Thanks for your updated address - I thought you'd stopped blogging - glad to hear you havne't! I'll pop right over :)

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  35. I've just finiished the first novel of three, and although I'm comforted by the fact that I still get to revisit my characters, I still feel like I'm missing a little bit of my 'self'...now that so much of it is in the black and white.

    I finished the major portion of the first draft some time ago,then I went through the editing, all the while talking myself out of the last chapter, intending to save it for the beginning of the second book. When I completed the second revision, the book fell flat and I added the last chapter and completed the book at four o'clock in the morning. Without even my husbands company to congratulate me, the moment was anti-climactic to say the least. It's all still a little surreal, but I hope it fades away soon enough so I can complete my outline and get on with the next book.

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