Only the Glass

This past week represents the official first full written draft of my novel, Alpha House. The book has taken many forms early on. The outlines and sketches, at times, included multiple narrators, multiple back stories, fantasy, and magic. There were hundred of pages written and then deleted due to a false start. The book has been written linearly, in sections, in fragments, in random sequential order by sentence, and at one very low point, dictated into a tape recorder.

The book took its final form. The outline was written, changed quite frequently, but more or less remaining complete and intact. Then each section was written out of order. I would finish one scene and then jump to a completely different scene in the book to keep the pacing and energy fresh and spirited.

And now the sucker is finished.

This weekend my brilliant and life-long editor/wife, who was sitting across from me, listening to the very first words of Alpha House after being written down around 1am in the dining room of our first real apartment–which just so happened to be above our landlord, a pot-growing townie–will begin the polish edit, the line edit, pinpointing the general concerns and queries.

She hears it from me enough, but she really has no idea how much of this book belongs to her and her guidance.

Once her edits are entered and the book is finished another draft, the book will be ready for submission. I have a tight schedule in mind–a week–to finish the polish draft. Then, the agent queries begin.

I have waited and dreamt for so long about beginning the next step of agent-ing and publishing the book that I am experiencing extreme anxiety and excitement about it. Not in an ungrateful or unreasonable way, but simply experiencing the emotions of dream slowly taking a tangible and very real form.

There will be more updates to come. Many people to thank. Many good, good friends have been giving such excellent and well-balanced advice lately that I hope to be able to repay with generosity to spare.

It’s like I was given a bag of broken glass and told to glue the glass back together. I was not given directions on how to do it. I was not given directions on what the glass was to form. Only the glass. And time to figure it out.

Keep on.


About J. R. Angelella

J.R. Angelella has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and his award-winning short fiction has appeared in various literary journals. He teaches writing at the University of Maryland, College Park and lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer, Kate Angelella. For more information, visit his website at or follow him on twitter: @jrangelella.
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3 Responses to Only the Glass

  1. Really beautiful post, Ross. I'm so excited for you and proud that you have done what everyone wants to do, but few ever do-finish a book. The anxiety won't go away, or it hasn't for me with each new book, but it's so worth it.

  2. Matt Bell says:

    Congratulations, Ross– This is a huge accomplishment, and I wish you the best of luck with polish draft and beginning submissions. Great work!

  3. Jess and Matt: I love that you both commented on this blog post. I have (maybe) six/seven writer friends that work as hard as I do, are happy with their work (most days), and are making the world work for them. The fact that you both are on that list and commented here, i just love it. Thank you both.

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