Posted by: jeannineatkins | June 3, 2015


In the midst of getting ready for a novel to be published in fall, I’ve been finishing another that is full of firsts-for-me. I’m aiming it at those devoted readers aged 8 to 12 or so, which I’ve done before, but this one has some magical elements that I came to believe in as I wrote. The magic here is based on history, and I’ve worked from the way the past seems to speak. Yes, I pushed things around, plucked out false conceits, but a certain belief stayed through its core.

I’m not a writer who types “the end,” when I finish a draft, since I can hardly believe I’m done through those six letters, but I did send the manuscript off to the three people of my writing group. This is the first time I’ve made my way through a novel without showing them chapters, and I’m a little terrified. I’ve made my own way from one scene to another, and rigged each scene without the benefit of another’s good eyes. There’s always something, sometimes plenty, that I miss, but this offers them a full 35,000 words to kindly but astutely ferret out false steps.

But there’s a chance the opinions of other people may not be as harsh as my own are when I return to the work. Frankly the parts my writing group likes, which I’ll feel I should commit to, are as scary as the parts they might suggest I cut. I’ve become pretty handy with sharp blades. I feel some emptiness while the manuscript goes to their homes, but there’s joy, too. Not so much for what’s loosely called finishing. I made sure the sentences were sentences and logic held one chapter to the next, but the word “finishing” doesn’t seem quite right when I know their comments will send me right back to work.


It’s good to reach some sort of end for many reasons, and one is that it offers a chance to begin again. It’s been a period of hard looking at the structure of the parts and the whole, making at least semi-fast choices, and pinning down. I sometimes call on creativity to help fill small spaces between words, but finishing up one stage of book tends to be more about cleanup, and my mind and hands keep a steady grip. It gets a little tense. Starting something new lets me open my fist. I welcome back creativity in her more expansive guise, working in more open spaces. Once again, anything can happen. Everything can fly every-which-way. For a while, I can set words adrift like the puff on dandelions gone by. Beginning means I get to let words loose and scatter, during this time when the lilacs have faded, but iris bloom.



  1. I am always beyond impressed by your productivity, Jeannine, and by the beauty of your writing, which your last sentence attests to.

    • Thanks, Sarah. I am feeling productive this spring. Sometimes we type and type and it doesn’t seem to come to much: then it blooms. Wishing such for you.

  2. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Song lyrics that I’m not able to place this evening. 😘

  3. I, too, have just “finished” a draft of a novel. 🙂 Yay for irises, is all I can say. And thank you for these round, full thoughts. xo

    • Yay for “finishing” with all its flourishes of quotation marks, and grateful for whatever’s in bloom when it happens. So glad to be finding our places on this circle with you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: