Saturday, November 19, 2005

The OMG Moments

There are some moments in writing that always make me think, Oh my, God! The first is right after I sell a book. I look at the three chapters I have, and the first thought that crosses through my mind is: OMG, how am I ever going to write 400 pages?

The fear, at that moment, seems almost paralyzing. It's daunting to know I have only about 60 pages, and somehow, some way, I have to add to them and create a whole book. What I do to function is push the idea of 400 pages out of my head. I just have to write 4 pages a day. Anyone can write 4 pages, I tell myself. Four pages is doable, and not overwhelming.

The second OMG moment is when I near the end of the first draft. I look at my page count and think, OMG, I really did get 400 pages. Actually in my case, it's always well over 400 pages, so the moment is two part for me. The first is wow, I really did get a whole story added to the end of those 60 pages. The second moment is OMG, how am I going to wrap this story up without going way, way over on page count. (The Work In Progress is looking at a first draft somewhere between 475 and 490 pages. How did I get so verbose?)

Needless to say, this is a very satisfying moment. I did it. I have a story! Of course, I also know that I'm going to need to look for things to cut as I revise, but at least I have something that can be worked with.

Then there's the OMG moment that comes with editorial revisions. The amount of work always seems so daunting in comparison to the amount of time I'm given. I'm lucky I have good friends who can help me break down what I need to do into manageable segments. That's the key for me, feeling as if I have a handle on everything, and thinking of it in pieces so that it doesn't feel so overwhelming.

The final OMG moment is when I hold the finished book in my hand. I'm still relatively new with only three books published, but I can't imagine a day when I'm not amazed by holding my book in my hands. Physical, tangible proof that I created this story and brought it all the way through to the finish. The thing that's strange is that it takes me a while to accept that this is really my book and not someone else's. It still doesn't quite feel real to me. Sometimes I wonder if it ever will.

So as a writer, what inspires you to awe and/or panic? What moments make you think OMG?

6 comments:

L. Faye Hughes said...

Great topic, Patti! I love OMG! moments. Mine are when I realize in Chapter 20 that the "meaningless" detail I'd placed back in Chapter 2 has a lot more significance than I'd originally thought.

Allison Brennan said...

My big OMG moment was seeing my first cover. It still gives me the shivers. Then holding the ARC. I haven't held the actual book yet . . .

Typing THE END does it to me too, and also when I get an ephiphany that something is working really, really well. I did major rewrites on my third book recently and when I nailed a particular scene, I was so elated.

Candice Gilmer said...

Since I'm not published yet, I'm still looking for those OMG moments.

However, for me, the big OMG moments have been:

OMG -- I actually finished a book.
OMG -- It's actually pretty good!
OMG -- An agent actually wants a partial!

That's as far as I've gotten with the OMG moments. Hopefully more come soon. :)

CJ Lyons said...

My OMG moments are when I can actually make myself cry or express intense emotion while editing or revising my own work. I know what's coming, I've probably read the scene 50 times already, so if I still get a "jolt" out of it, that means I must be doing something right.

But even better, bigger than those OMG moments are when someone else reads my work and has an emotional response to it. Then I really know I've nailed it!
CJ

JoAnn Ross said...

Candice, your #1 moment is definitely worth celebrating! I recently read somewhere that nine out of ten people who begin to write a book never finish it. Having spent the past 23 years talking with aspiring writers, I believe the completion rate may actually be lower. So, whatever happens with the agent, what you've done is terrific, right up there with completing a marathon.

Huge congratulations on your accomplishment, and good luck!

Candice Gilmer said...

Joann,
Thanks so much. :) That is the so far the best one... ;)

And you know, when I did finish it, and look at the printed version, sitting on the table, I sort of did feel like I'd completed a marathon... lol