A Writing Update in 3 Parts

Dear readers,

I structured this writing update in three parts, using questions that I (and I’m sure all of you) get from some well-meaning friends and family. I hope you enjoy!

What is it that you actually do?

I’ve been revising  Juice of Half a Lemon for over a year now, longer than the time it took to write the damn thing. I can recite the first five chapters by heart. I wake up every morning thinking about what else I need to fix. But I think I’m almost there. I’ve made a couple of big changes in the past week and I’m a lot happier with the manuscript now, at draft 8, than I have ever been.

In saying that, its flaws and shortcomings hit me in waves. At this point, I’m holding on to that quote by Anne Enright: “Only bad writers think that their work is really good.”

Oh great, you’ve finished your book. Are you getting it published?

I remember around draft 4 when I thought, yep, after this draft I’ll be ready to query. I wrote up a query letter, a synopsis, the whole package. Then I did four more drafts.

How do I know when it really is finished?

I don’t want to rush myself to submit, but at the same time, I don’t want to keep rewriting and rewriting, making the manuscript different but not necessarily better. I don’t want to use the editing process as an excuse not to send it away.

My next steps are to:

  • wait to hear back from a few more beta readers
  • finish this draft
  • let it sit for a while, and then do a thorough line edit
  • fix up my query letter and synopsis from draft 4, ask for feedback
  • submit Juice of Half a Lemon to an unpublished manuscript competition to get this whole submitting thing started.

If that doesn’t lead anywhere, I’m going to start querying agents. To the query trenches I go!

Thanks for that super long-winded answer that I did not understand/need to hear. So what are you working on next?

I’ve started brainstorming my second manuscript and am looking forward to drafting it! It’ll be a magical realism novel set in a world where people don’t have reflections.

I have been itching to go on another writing residency, so I think I’ll make that a goal for either the second half of 2018, or the first half of 2019. I work best in short bursts, as I saw with Juice of Half a Lemon, so a residency would be perfect to cover some ground on project number 2.


Please feel free to comment down below! I love hearing about other writers’ works-in-progress.


All the best,

Tamara Drazic

12 thoughts on “A Writing Update in 3 Parts

  1. A friend of mine has a saying when it comes to writing: If all you’re doing is rearranging the chairs it’s time to walk away.

    The toughest thing for any writer to do is to walk away from their work. My editor and I completed my novel in January. It took us a full year of editing. For me it was a like a classroom. I became a better writer, a better editor….not only on my own work but on others….but most of all I learned when it was time to walk away.

    When you think about it, these characters that we create become close friends. Family, if you want to get down to it, so it makes sense to keep working. When we stop that means we have to say goodbye.
    I miss those crazy people I created. I could easily pick a chapter at random and rewrite it but I know deep down it was written the way it was meant to be.

    Are you the only person who edited Juice of half a Lemon? If so I strongly urge another set of eyes before you send it out.

    Hope this helps. I see you have a link to your novel. I’ll check it out.

    By the way:Love the title!!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you so much for this insightful comment; it really is like leaving behind a family. I guess part of me is scared that I’ll never be able to connect with any new characters like I did with these ones. I love your friend’s saying–I’m jotting that down in my journal.

      That sounds like a fantastic experience! Is your editor a freelancer? As a student, I’m not in the position to hire an editor, unfortunately! I have had a few people in my writing circle read the manuscript and send me critiques. These have been beyond helpful, and have really shaped the manuscript. They’re the reason I’m so much happier with this draft than I was when my edits were all my own. I am waiting on a few more people to get back to me with their critiques, but I know that life is busy and it’s hard work to critique a novel, so I haven’t been pressing them too hard.

      Thank you so much for commenting! I appreciate this comment so much.

      All the best with your writing!


      1. You are welcome. Anything to help. We all need to stick together. Your concerns are natural. Just remember, those characters that you created will always be there. All you have to do is visit them from time to time. If needed created your own version of fan fiction for your eyes only. Every character and story that we create is special and it takes time to move on. It’s an incredibly strong connection.

        My editor is a freelancer and a tad spendy. Be warned. None of them come cheap.

        I, on the other hand, would be happy to lend an editing eye or just a read if that’s what you need. I have a feeling your current work does not need any more readings but I would be happy to help on future work.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I think sticking together is the only way we can all get through this crazy writing thing.

        Thank you so, so much for offering to read my work–I will have to take you up on that with my next story! Of course, I’d be more happy to read your work as well if you need an extra pair of eyes.

        Thank you again for this comment! It’s comments like these that make me love blogging so much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow eight drafts! That’s amazing! Well done for sticking with the project and good luck finishing it off!

    Sometimes I think it would be too easy to continue editing a book forever, trying to get it 100% perfect. I know I spent a month editing the first chapter in one of my WIPs before deciding that was a bit ridiculous. At that rate it would take me 2 years to edit the whole thing! It’s a hard habit to break though, especially if you don’t have a lot of editing experience…

    Liked by 4 people

  3. It was so nice to read that I’m not the only one. The end of March will mark four years I’ve worked on my book, Seam Keepers. I’ve memorized the first several chapters. I wake at night thinking I need to rewrite or rearrange various chapters. It’s so frustrating. I’ve finally been querying it a little (just sending it to a few at a time). I want to be able to keep working on it, but I feel like I’m honestly to the point where I need an agent to help me polish it… professional help. I guess I don’t know what to fix now, and I don’t want to over-edit and change the original flow of the story. SO – thank you for sharing! I feel a little more validated in how long I’ve held onto my story… and continue to explain to family and friends that I’m still working on it. Ha! I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Working on one sustained piece for four years is an accomplishment in itself! But yes, as a commenter above said, if all you’re doing is rearranging the chairs it’s time to walk away. I know how hard it is to let go; it’s much easier said than done! At least we’re not alone in this. Thank you so much for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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