December 1, 2006

The Guts, The Glory

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 pm by Ian

It’s over.

I wrote the last 6,000 words on Tuesday. That’s the most I wrote in any single day during the entire month, by about 2,000 words, and I did it all in about three and a half hours. And, even by the next day, it felt so far away. I find myself in danger of having this conversation:

“Hey, remember when I was writing that novel?”
“Wait, you finished?”
“Oh. Yeah. Uhm. Seven hours ago.”

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me, and who congratulated me on my success.

Several people asked if they could read the book when it’s done, and I always planned to make it available to whoever was interested, unless it was so terrible that I couldn’t bear to do so. Well, it’s terrible.

But not that terrible.

I will not be posting it online, and I request that you not do so either. It’s one thing to have one’s family and friends share in my literary shortcomings, but another entirely for them to be permanently enshrined by Google. Those who are interested, leave a message in the comments, and I’ll email you a copy. Bear in mind that it’s an incredibly rough draft, rough to the point where, when I realized at the end of a paragraph, or even a sentence, that what I had just written was not self-consistent, I didn’t bother to go back and change it. I did (I think) manage to keep all of my characters named the same thing throughout, but I no longer know if my physical descriptions were consistent. And I have the unpleasant feeling that I may have misplaced a government agent somewhere along the way.

I don’t want any feedback. Really. There may come a time after I’ve cleared my mind and body of the toxins accumulated from writing that I’ll want to rewrite this, bring it up to a level worthy of praise and critique, but that time is not now. If you have even the slightest hint of literary acumen, you’ll recognize it for the dreck that it is, and if not, if you actually like it, I think I’d rather not know that about you. But, since I’m sure you can’t quite leave it at that, I’ll allow you one thought. One sentence, preferably. Just pick out the single aspect of the novel that is most enduring and impressive to you, and distill its impact down to one note. For example:

  • I cannot believe that you had your protagonist pass out in the moment that would otherwise have been his moment of triumph.
  • That was the most half-assed stillborn pseudo-romantic subplot I’ve ever read; you clearly have never even talked to a girl without pissing yourself.
  • Punchards?! You’re such a dork.

Except you can’t use any of those.



  1. Kevin said,

    Congrats on finishing the novel! Considering I actually dropped a class at Mudd because I couldn’t bring myself to finish a 5 page paper on ancient philosophy (which was already 2 months late, but actually could have been up to 6 months late if *SOMEONE* hadn’t wrecked the system by turning in all his essays on the last day of class the semester before), … crap, I’ve totally lost my sentence with that huge parenthetical remark. Anyways, long story short, I couldn’t have done it. Send me a copy. 🙂

  2. Dad said,

    Love to see it. Promise not to like it.

  3. Adam said,

    So what did you end up calling it?

  4. Ian said,

    Punch Out!

  5. Adam said,


  6. AB said,

    Checking in to request a copy. I can assure you that I will be the very soul of discretion and will not let you how much it sucks for any more than one sentence.

  7. Daniel said,

    I think I can live with your requests.

  8. Patrick said,

    Copy? I re-read my high school and early college writing every once in a while, and routinely come to the conclusion that I have become a worse writer as I’ve grown older. Or maybe just more self-critical.

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