Business Musings: Promises

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I made a promise to myself when I started this blog up again a little over a year ago that I wouldn’t use the blog to put extra pressure on myself.

This morning, I finished the last chapter of a book I’ve worked on for eleven years. I’ve done six different half drafts of the book—all with different characters, starting in different places. Earlier this year, I started all over again—brand new words, brand new draft—and today, 170,000 words later, I have a book.

Which is pretty amazing when you come to think about it.

Now, here’s where the writer half-truths come in. If I were speaking to a large group at a library or somewhere in the future, and someone who has read the book asks me how long I worked on it, I would say about fifteen years start to finish.

That’s completely true. I started the research in the year 2000 or so, and did my first writing on the book in 2003 or 2004. I wrote a lot of drafts, but never finished one, because I started in the wrong place with the wrong point of view characters (once I even switched the setting to another city).

So I would also tell the group that I “rewrote” the book at least six times before they got to see the finished product. In reality, I wrote six different versions. And believe you me, this thing was hard to finish because I had made it hard. After you try and fail to complete something several times, you worry that you’ll never finish—or at least, I do.

Anyway, 170,000 words. Done. Finito.

What happens next is anyone’s guess, because I don’t care at the moment. I want to see a movie, have too much food, and maybe nap. Read something I’m not required to read. Go shopping. And maybe nap.

In fact, I suspect I’ll nap.

What I’m not up for is a long blog post on the industry. This week, the industry can take of itself.

I’ll be back next week, with clear and cogent thoughts about something.

Or at least, I’ll have a longer post. 🙂

See you then!



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“Business Musings: Promises,” copyright © 2015 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.



18 thoughts on “Business Musings: Promises

  1. We all need some time off to relax, recharge and read. You’ve given us such great articles over the last so many years and it’s good to see that you’re taking time for yourself. Congratulations on finishing your book and hope you get lots of naps!

  2. Congratulations! It must feel great. I have a book like that too. It’s been tugging at me again, and I’ve been hesitating, afraid I’ll get it wrong again. You’ve encouraged me. As your blog always does. Thanks!

  3. Oops Kristine too quick on the send button. Congratulations on completing the project. Like I mentionned sometimes projects take a life on their own and you just can’t let them go since you want to see how the story will end.


  4. Hi,
    I took me over 20 years for my first novel. It was 140,000 but during editing it was pruned to 120,000. I pleased that my second only took 18 months. Nine to write and nine through the copy editing and proof reading process.

    Sometimes projects simply take a life of their own.


  5. Thanks for writing about writer half-truths, Kris. That one concept, elaborated in a few short paragraphs, is really helpful.

    I’ve found myself telling half-truths about my writing and felt a little guilty about it.

    When I’m talking with a writer friend, who I know will keep my confidence, I’ll speak of writing Fate’s Door (my latest release) in 7 months, which is the fastest I’ve ever completed a doorstopper novel. (It’s 490 pages, 160K words.) 7 months is how I regard it, because I started writing the second scene in January and wrote “The End” on July 27.

    But when I’m talking with non-writer acquaintances, I’ll say the book took a year, because I did a bunch of research, brainstormed foggy bits, and made notes in December 2014 and released the book in mid-November 2015 (after I wrote several additional scenes for it in October, sliding them in where they belonged).

    I suspect if I were speaking to a group of strangers, I might say the book took 3 years, because I wrote the opening in a workshop in February 2013 (Dean’s and your Openings workshop), thought about continuing it each time I started a new project (but chose the other project each time until Dec 2014), and published the book in late 2015.

    But if I’m following in your footsteps on this, maybe I need not worry.

    Of course, I’ve blown the gaff in this comment… 😀

  6. YAY – A NEW KKR BOOK! YAY! I’m sorry it took you through so many years (and tears?) but I know it will be worth it to people like me, who love your work. And surely you’re due a nap now, so enjoy it – before you get back to work! (Because I’m pretty sure you’ll do exactly that.)

  7. I am glad you finished, and glad you posted what you did. I have one of those books where I keep writing the wrong way and it’s nice to hear that you were able to finally complete yours. Gives me hope for mine. After four different versions including a change of not only cities but countries, and change of POV as well as tense, mine is taking a break while I write something new. But, this is the story that motivated me to write, so I know I will come back an finish it.

  8. Rest, Kris…enjoy it – you’ve certainly earned it! And…you make me feel a bit ashamed of myself, I’ve got a story that really wants to be told but I keep putting it off – for about 5 years now.

    But, you’ve also encouraged me to have another go at it. 😉

    Merry Christmas, btw to you and Dean.

  9. Such an inspiring story of perseverance! And you didn’t fall into the trap of “my novel (singular) is stuck but I’m working on it.” You wrote tons of other things while it unwound over the years. That’s a real emotional feat and a great example.

    Congrats!! Go take that nap. 🙂

  10. Congrats on finishing the book. This is a good reminder to us. We might have a story that needs to be told but it might be something we keep rewriting in between other writing and in the end it might be totally different from what we expected when we started.

  11. Well met! I know the feeling, with the same long delay, but for a graphic novel ” of the heart”. I published three other graphic novels and began a SF novel while this one suffered…

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