Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Are we there yet, story?

So, here is another writing update for you.

I basically have most of the manuscript back from my two loyal amazing friends who gave up such huge chunks of their time for me in the midst of their incredibly busy lives. So the verdict is — incredibly — they love it, with a few “buts,” of course.

Now, you would think, it should be easy from this point on. You would think: I have but three simple steps to complete:

 1. Take a few days to ruminate on some of their big thoughts/comments — which really aren’t that many. 

 2. Go through the manuscript line-by-line, twenty to fifty pages a day.

3.   Write an excited e-mail to Jessica (my agent), saying “Yippee, I’m finished!”


Yeah, right.

Not much about writing this manuscript has been easy. Working on its many version and drafts, I feel that every time I look at this story, it whispers new things to me. Sometimes the discoveries delight me. Sometimes they scare me. Sometimes, they make me groan in exasperation: “Really, story?” You want me to do WHAT now? Are you kidding me? Aren’t we there yet?”

I want to be there. But at the same time, I know in my heart that the story has a few more secrets it wants to share. So here I am revising — again. Developing one character better. Re-considering my fantasy world — one more time. Adding yet another conflict to the tension-ridden pages (and hoping I can handle it)! 

A part of me can’t believe it. What, Katia? You mean you’re STILL not done? How long are you going to TAKE, for God’s sake? Isn’t  it supposed to get easier with each novel, not harder??

Not necessarily, if you ask seasoned authors. Some of them — the lucky ones — will say, yes, once you know your own process, once you know what to expect, it does get easier. Others — yes, even the most famous ones! — say that in some ways writing every novel feels like writing that first manuscript. I still haven’t decided whether or not that’s comforting to know 🙂

Meanwhile, I am back with the story — tearing down a few walls, gluing on new wallpaper in some places, while frantically sweeping and dusting and waxing the hardwood floors. In so many ways, the job is hard and scary. But sometimes, unexpectedly, things come together.

Let’s just hope it all comes together relatively soon.

Okay, story? No pressure or anything . . .


March 14, 2011 - Posted by | Updates, Writing Mirror | ,


  1. I’m doing the same thing. I received one beta’s input, and I’m waiting on a few others. I aimed to be done with my wip months ago, but it’s never-ending.

    But when we spend this much time fine-tuning our work, we commit ourselves to turning in quality manuscripts. I’ve read plenty of published works that, in my opinion, should have gone back to the drawing-board.

    Every time I revisit and rework my manuscript, I’m making those baby steps towards completion.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | March 16, 2011 | Reply

    • Nice to know someone out there is in this too — someone who knows what they’re doing! 🙂 Or maybe it rarely feels like we know what we’re doing when we’re in the midst of it, no matter who we are, or how recognized we are for our other accomplishments (or so I hear).
      Anyway, back to work I go: can you hear me chant “baby steos toward completion, baby steps, baby steps . . .” 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | March 16, 2011 | Reply

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