But what I really want to talk about is the writing process. I had lunch today with a really interesting person (I'm going to blog about him next week), and we got to talking about how long it really takes to write a novel. Or, how long it takes me to write a novel.
I always tell my students that before I even gave my most recent novel to my agent, I had rewritten it about 7 times. She called me to tell me she loved it, and then she had me rewrite it another five times. (This is no joke--and because she is so brilliant and astute, I was happy to do it.) She sold the novel to Algonquin within weeks, and guess what? They loved it...and they wanted rewrites. And I was thrilled to do them, because this stage--seeing the novel stretch its legs and start to take on a life all its own--is transcendent. It's actually my favorite part of the process.
Now, I'm in first draft stage. It took me, as it always does, about six months from my initial idea, just to figure out a general idea for the story. I know, of course, it is all going to change. I know, too, that I am going to be doing 8 drafts, then more for my agent, and more for my editor. I know I'm in it for the long haul. Three years, maybe four.
And nothing makes me happier.