I finished the rough draft of my MFA thesis last night.
Now, before you all run out and congratulate me, that means that today I get to go back to the beginning and start revising. I’d love to set it aside for 2 weeks to give myself some distance, but I just don’t have time. But for right now, I’m up for a quick breath of air. I even squeezed in some Doctor Who viewing time.
The thesis is a novel. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not much of a novelist. This is only the second time I’ve ever gotten a novel to the “finished draft” stage, and the first attempt… well, let’s just say my estate has strict instructions to destroy all evidence of it should I pass away before doing so myself.
So here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- Anyone who says “If you can write a novel, you can write a short story” is full of shit. They are completely different media.
- Anyone who says “If you can write a short story, you can write a novel” is even fuller of shit. This felt like I had never before in my life written a word.
- The urge to go back and correct instead of plod forward grows stronger as the page count increases.
- Your verbal tics become really, really annoying long-form.
- Sometimes you just have to let the writing suck and keep moving.
- There will always be something you neglected to research, and library hours are never convenient. Wikipedia and I are now good friends.
- You will have lots of brilliant ideas for other projects while you’re frantically writing toward a deadline. You won’t have time to work on any of them.
- Even keeping your submissions of existing stories up to date is challenging.
- Your spouse will feel very ignored while you write. Fortunately, mine has been watching the complete series of Murder, She Wrote, except last night when it was Bedknobs and Broomsticks instead. If this ever gets published and I dedicate it to Angela Lansbury instead of my husband, you’ll know why.
- Blogging is much more appealing than revising.
And, on that note, I must get back to work on my MFA thesis.
*takes a deep breath*