April 15, 2006



Congratulations on getting to the end. Now take some time off, be good to yourself, and go back for the harsh revisions. :)


Congratulations, and good luck with it.

John Shannon

Respectful suggestion: take some time before you dive back in. The distance helps. And best of luck with it. The revisions are the best part. No terror of the blank page.

Antoine Wilson

Have a drink on me. AW

goethe girl

All of the above.

goethe girl

By the way, just read of the passing of one of my favorites, Muriel Spark.


Good stuff Mark. Enjoy the intermission before the final acts.



I raise my glass to you! Hurrah!

Dave Worsley

A glass from here, too. Congratulations and I hope revisions are painless.

Doug Worgul

Excellent! Keep on keepin' on.

Kirby Gann

I say drafting a novel is an accomplishment in itself, and much harder than what you have left to do--it's so much easier to work with words that are there than it is to come up with something from nothing. Way to go, and have fun revising.


Well done! bask in it for a bit. Then dive back in.


I'd like 67% of whatever.


Congrats, Mark! I know the feeling and say ditto to all the suggestions above (relax, give yourself a break, etc.) adding only the obvious: stay away from your draft for as long as you possibly can, before diving back in.

Coincidentally, I finished the "final" draft of mine two days before yours. You might be amused by this post about that completion:

Steven Augustine

I just caught that cryptic post ('67 percent') up there...rather chilling!

Steve Clackson

Congrats! Now the fun begins pace yourself and remember patience and perseverance, perspiration and preparation lead to publication or so we are told. Best Steve


Congratulations, Mark.

The feeling's a strange one, getting to the "end" of something that's just getting started. I especially like ed's advice to "take some time off" from the novel. There should be a service that takes first drafts away from authors for 45-60 days, and refuses to return them under any circumstance.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


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    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
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