For the record

It’s done. It’s finished. That wonderful thing — the first draft. I’ve finished the first draft of One Who Loves.

It’s my sixth novel. I’ve caught up with Jane Austen. I can rest on my laurels — for a while. Then I’ll revise. But how much more doable, less formidable, the rewrite! It’s telling the story, clear to the end, that’s terrifying. Always the possibility it won’t be done — especially if it’s long — if it’s a novel. What a relief to have written those two words: “The End.”

In one of my favorite books about writing and reading, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley says, “. . . to write through to the end of the rough draft, in spite of time constraints, second thoughts, self-doubts, and judgments of all kinds, is an act of faith that is invariably rewarded — the rough draft of a novel is the absolute paradigm of something that comes from nothing. . . .[it is] “something quite substantial.”


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