I usually put these updates on my Tumblr thingy, but this one is of particular significance, so I’m putting it front and center on my blog.
I’m pretty sure I just finished the final draft, including revisions, of the novel I’ve been working on for a little over a year. As a matter of fact, I’m going to send this final draft to my editor right now. I’ll be right back.
…okay, I’m back. I know it took you seconds to get from the end of the previous sentence to this one, but if you are wondering, it took me about half the duration of “Waiting For The Man,” which is part of the playlist I made for this novel, to write and send the email, with the manuscript attached. It’s kind of cool that I just feel excited and enthused about it, instead of feeling like I’m going to throw up.
I’ve been working on the last two chapters of this book for a long time. The feedback from all the beta readers, regardless of which revision they read, has pretty consistently said “[lots of feedback] and the ending needs work, because it just … sort of … ends. Abruptly.” I took that feedback to heart, and watched many self-imposed deadlines race by me while my creative self just refused to give me anything for months. Eventually, I decided to stop randomly flipping over mental rocks, and expecting to find the ending, fully formed, sitting there waiting for me. Eventually, I accepted that the only way I’d find the ending was to sit down, commit to a deadline that I would not miss, and write as many different endings as I needed to, until one of them was the right one.
So I tried out a lot of different endings while over the last couple of weeks. I’ve written and thrown away probably ten thousand words in the last few days, alone, until yesterday. I knew that I’d end up cutting nearly everything I’d written, but I also knew that all the pieces I needed to assemble into the right ending were there … I just couldn’t see them.
I turned it in and spent three hours unwinding in Horizon: Zero Dawn (I’m late to the party but what a great game it is!) before I went to bed. My editor sent it back with some notes and suggestions while I was sleeping, and when I looked at it this morning, I knew that I was going to finish today. Which is good, because today is the Totally Official It Has To Be Done Today deadline!
I made a joke about how I was going to drag myself over broken glass, only to find an ending that is totally obvious once I see it. That wasn’t too far off. I love the way this story ends, now. I hope it hits the same emotional notes in the readers as it hits in me, and I hope that someone who hasn’t followed the process with me won’t even be aware of how much of a struggle it was to find it, because OMG IT IS SO OBVIOUSLY THE ONLY WAY IT COULD END.
Sometimes, as an actor, I have to try out performance choices that I think are wrong, just to confirm that they’re wrong, and to give myself the chance to discover something I didn’t know was in me, or in the material. In those cases, it’s just a matter of spending time in rehearsal and preparation, following the map that the writer has given me. It was a heck of an experience to do essentially the same thing as a writer, without the map, because the map didn’t exist until I made it.
Holy shit, you guys, I wrote a novel.
98 thoughts on “2458 words cut (77348 remain) on the revisions of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything”
How exciting! I’m really, really looking forward to reading it, however and whenever it’s available. Many congratulations!
Wil, I love hearing the pride you experience in yourself shine through and knowing you are in a good place. I look forward to reading your novel and hopefully getting you to sign it next time we meet up somewhere.
Do you know if you are going to ECCC next year?
So happy for you and can’t wait!
Yay! That’s awesome! (As is Zero Dawn.)
Great work 😀
So true Wil. Writing anything take time, courage and imho, the scary acknowledgement of letting go parts that don’t work. I too hold onto parts because of emotion or anxiety. Creating drafts are great this way. I’m currently creating my vows for my elopement at the end of this month and I’ve gone through countless drafts. Deadlines can be good for motivation. Glad you found your ending! Looking forward to reading the book.
Yay!!! Congratulations, Wil!! I’ve loved the peak you have given us into your creative process, and I cannot wait to read your novel!
Also, my husband and I are expecting a rainbow baby in January and we are naming him Wesley. This is due, in no small part, to the positive influence and example you have been to myself over the last several years. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can recall and your transparency with us all has strengthened me in a way I cannot fully express. Hence, I am naming my child Wesley.
Star Trek was an unexpected and headfirst obessesion that started a few years ago… and from my love of your character, I have found you and Anne and Tabletop and Titansgrave and a whole community of people who are like me.
You being you has been such a light for me, and I know many more out there. So, I hope you know that there are many of us rooting for you and eagerly awaiting your new endeavors such as the novel and such, but who also deeply cherish your past works – enough to bestow a living being with their moniker 🙂
All the best!!
And by peak – I mean peek…. Ding Dang!
Is that…a Tim Tracker reference????
Hahaha, you know it is!!!!
Hey Wil, I hope you plan to produce an audiobook of your novel as soon as its published! I do a lot of driving for work so I spend most of my time listening to audiobooks, and I would very much like to read/listen to your book. Even when I’m not driving audiobooks help drown out all the tools I work with (very conservative and ignorant bunch of red bleeding conspiracy loving nut jobs)… but I digress. Its actually an audiobook you narrated, Ready Player One, that eventually led me upon your site today as I was curious what other books you have narrated.
I will admit I haven’t read much of your blog other than the last few posts starting with the one on August 31st. I learned a little of your political interests or point of view on John Lovett’s podcast Lovett or Leave It last year, which I throughly enjoyed! If my two cents means anything I just wanted to say, I get it. I know a great deal of what its like struggling with mental illness and that perpetual daily task of introspection asking yourself, “Am I who they say I am. Are my feelings valid, or am I off my rocker?” When you get in those modes people usually only respond in one of two ways, empathy or anger. As I said, I have only read a little bit so far, but of what I have heard you speak out on, I appreciate your honesty and candor. There is a lot of hate out in this world and its only been highlighted more in the last few years by President DIC (Duchebag in Charge). I have never seen celebrities as more than just people who often have the initial impression of who they are, tainted or enhanced by the characters they portray. It can be a misleading facade that alters perspectives of who a person really is on the inside. Even with every day people, it is hard to really see who the real person is, but I personally try my best, and now that i have gotten to know more of you through your posts, I’m glad my initial impressions of you were not unfounded. Please keep writing!
PS. Horizon Zero Dawn has been a recent discovery of mine as well, and it is truly a masterpiece. My two daughters love playing it even more than I do!
I’d like to second this. You are my favorite audiobook reader.
Thirded! I also love audio books and some of my favourites are narrated by you (Ready Player One, Lock-In etc). So yes, please record an audio book of this for us.
That’s damn impressive and amazing! Amazing how you got through the whole novel and then had some
Challenges with the finish line just ahead. As always, hard work pays off and I am confident that you did the right thing and made some great choices. I can’t wait to get your novel. (Wow, hard to believe!). Hope you do the Audible narration!!
Well done. You’ve done what about 90% of people who start writing a novel can’t do.
Can’t wait to get my hands on it.
I’m excited that you wrote a novel! Also, from what I understand Zero Dawn has only (relatively) recently become the game that it was always meant to be, so it’s probably a good thing that you’re late to the party.
Congratulations on finishing! That’s excellent news!!
Beta readers…need a few, myself. Anyone have any advice on where to find one?
Congratulations! You’ve done a thing that not many people get to say that they’ve done! Good for you!
Congratulations! I hope the editors and publishers get it through quickly so I can throw my money at you and them and read some awesome nostalgia! I’m hoping for at least one crappily-built fort or an argument involving action figures (“They’re not dolls!”).
thank you for sharing these glimpses into your life, they mean a lot. I suspect that many, like myself, live a life that will soon be forgotten – but your honest glimpses into your life – a life we sorta wish we had – we’ll it somehow helps to realize that you, living on the other side of the TV glass, are a lot like us.
The hopes, fears, loves and hates are all part of life, for everyone.
thanks again and congratulations on the novel. can’t wait to listen to it
Hi Wil! Congrats on this huge achievement! I’m a doctoral student working on a huge literature review to prepare for my comprehensive exams. Your public word tracking inspired me to do my own. My advisor told me it’s super helpful, so thanks for that!
I’m so happy you’re still posting here at the ww dot net. I ambled over today via a link from a blog post about the state of the web (http://fogknife.com/2018-08-31-rejecting-montforts-post-web-era-while-embracing-the-future.html) that I found thanks to the IndieWeb community (https://indieweb.org).
I just want to take some space to say that you are a constant inspiration to me, particularly as one of my Internet People. I remember having you on my AIM buddy list, though I don’t think I ever tried to talk to you there, and emailing you a photo of a Wesley playing card. You responded so graciously. I followed your blog from way back and I have a distinct memory of reading Just a Geek while waiting for the Christmas Eve service at Duke Chapel to start, because my boyfriend (who is now my husband) had given it to me. Your work on Tabletop has led to super fun times with family and friends because of games I learned about there, and it was an especially bright spot when I had a year of everything turning to garbage at work. Your episode of THWoD broke my heart but also resonated really strongly for me. And here you are again, reminding me that you have to write through the stuff you’re going to toss to find the stuff you need to keep. There’s really no other way to do it
Thank you thank you thank you for being so open and accessible, Wil. Take care.
That is exciting news. Congrats on completing your novel, good sir!
Congratulations! That’s a hell of an accomplishment, man! I can’t wait to read it
Yay! I can’t wait to listen to the audiobook (which I’m sure you’ll read, right? Right?)!
WOW! I am so pumped to read this. Way to go. 🙂
I am also very grateful how generously you share your journey with us. Thanks for being yourself, instead of succumbing to the mass of blech out in cyberspace. Reading these blogs feels like we’re just sitting having a coffee together, and you’re telling me how’s it going.
That’s really hard to do! Your writing style welcomes us in, and I always look forward to reading your posts. (Even if it’s a few days late)
This will be an instant buy for me! Please publish it on Kindle Any plans for more Memories Of The Future?
Welcome back. Or home rather. It’s nice to read you again
Here’s a short essay. It is beautiful. It is tragic.
That is wonderful. I cannot wait to read it
Yay! Great news! You must have such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment! I hope I get to read it.
So excited to hear it’s been finished – hope you’ll have a reading on the cruise next year!
I can’t wait to read it !
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