What Happens After The “!!!” Stage

22 Feb


By Rachel Simon


So somehow, I ended up being the first one to post after the AMAZING two weeks of Query articles. I have to live up to that–great. Just kidding!

Anyway, I’m here to talk about What Happens After The “!!!” Stage.

For starters, its usually known as “OMG! I just finished my rough draft of my novel! OMG! !!!!!!!!!” stage. The writer of said rough draft usually runs around and screams and eats lots of candy and tells all their friends/family.

That was not my case. I finished my rough draft at exactly 10:00 PM on January 19th (not that I was looking at the clock or anything) and I immediately sat there, dumbfounded at what to do next. I checked online to see if any of my buddies were online and there really wasn’t anyone on. It was a Tuesday night, and most of my online buddies are college students, who at the time had just returned to college.

So, I picked myself up and went to the television room, expecting my parents to be just as thrilled as me. Not the case, either. My mom was watching the news and my dad was snoring. In fact, I had to whisper to my mom that I had just finished my novel. Yes, you read correctly… WHISPER.

After taking the time to download Lady Gaga (I had made a promise to a friend that if I finished it before the end of that week I had to download the Lady), I went to bed. Okay, thats a lie. I stayed up until 1 AM in shock that I — Rachel, who never finished any writing piece she wrote and somehow still claimed to want to grow up to be the next J.K. Rowling (What?! I was 10!) — had finished an entire novel.

The next day, I sent the rough draft off to my first reader, Jackie, who immediately read it in two weeks. With the rough draft sent and my Let The Words Flow excitement e-mails sent, I did what anyone would do for the next step.

I began my next novel.

I can’t tell you much about it, except it is a historical YA about Zelda Fitzgerald and F. Scott. (Oh wait…I guess I just told you everything about it. Hmph. I need to get better at keeping secrets.) I threw myself into four hours of research on the internet and then promptly took myself to the library and sat for five to six hours and did book research.

I’m only six pages into my historical YA, but its worth it. I have an outline. I have notes. I am fully prepared to knock the socks off the world with her madness and brilliance. I am, I am!

And besides writing my historical YA, I am editing the first novel. I’m only 58 pages out of 254 into edits, but I blame school. College (to me) is important. So is getting good grades. And writing. And vlogging. And e-mail checking.

So, my advice is after the “!!!” stage is to keep on writing. Get back into the grind of tapping keyboards or scribbling down in your notebook. Don’t take time off. If you want to be published, you’re going to have to write even when you’re too excited to think. Also, read as your reward. For me, it was totally worth it to pick up a YA novel after I’d just finished mine. (And no, it wasn’t fantasy!)


Rachel Simon is hard at work at her sophomore year of college, applying for internships for summer 2010, editing her YA fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, writing her novel about Zelda Fitzgerald, sketching a contemporary YA novel and avoiding having a life at all costs. Her http://seeyouupside.livejournal.com/ is updated frequently and she is often on Twitter.

11 Responses to “What Happens After The “!!!” Stage”

  1. priscillashay February 22, 2010 at 11:21 AM #


    I’m in the sane boat. My parents weren’t that excited when I finished (I don’t think they’re taking me seriously because sometimes I think I have ADD and never finish anything)

    I’m still editing my rough draft..but college and the essays and reading and writing are getting in the way ..booo…and..I keep coming up with new plots I want to work on. But, I can’t because…college..and I occasionally I need to sleep and eat…

    But, good luck with writing!!! Sometimes I think we need to lose sleep in order to write 🙂 Can’t wait until it’s published! (I was in Barnes and Noble this weekend and I found a series of books that were retellings of classic stories, i.e., The Storyteller’s Daughter – Cameron Dokey)

    • rachelsimon February 22, 2010 at 11:31 AM #

      Yeah, whispering to my parents about being finished with my novel was not ideal. And like yours, my parents kept saying “I’ll believe it when I see it…”

      Yeah I’m finding that I have great respect for those who write during college and maybe even snag agents/book deals/whatever. I don’t know how they do it!

      Thanks. Good luck with editing, Priscilla!

  2. Myra February 22, 2010 at 6:20 PM #

    Oh dear. I think my dad and especially my sister will be excited for me when I finish a novel (someday, I will) but my mom might be a little more worried for me paying the rent on time. lol.

    This is good advice, though; some people might go straight into editing, and apparently it’s better to leave your novel aside for a while to distance yourself from it. And honestly, I think I’m going to have the same reaction as you when I finish a novel–OMGWHAT!!! :oooo

    Congratulations on finishing your novel!!! I hope all goes well with your new one. I’ve always wanted to read more about Zelda Fitzgerald and F. Scott–their lives are so crazy and interesting–so it sounds good.

  3. rachelsimon February 22, 2010 at 8:40 PM #

    Thanks, and good luck finishing yours! I know you can do it!!!! 🙂

  4. Gaby dSilva February 22, 2010 at 8:49 PM #

    Hey there – new member here 😀

    Hah, I remember when I finished my rough draft. I was not only leaving for Japan the next morning, I was… a little drunk. My mom entered my room to ask me if my suitcase was done with and I promptly yelled something along the lines of “I’m about to finish, leave me alone” but more drunk (“Imma boot t’fnish” perhaps).

    When I finished, she hugged me ’cause she writes, too, so I guess she knows the kind of thrill you get. Dad only told me to get correcting, and boy… I was in for two years of editing before I got it published.

    • rachelsimon February 22, 2010 at 9:17 PM #

      Hi, Gaby! 🙂

      I can imagine that must’ve been VERY interesting to your mom! 😉 But that is great that she writes too! I wish my mom wrote.

      And you got it published? Whoaaa! Cool!

      • Gaby da Silva February 22, 2010 at 9:53 PM #

        I got lucky with my family – one way or another, they are all related to the academic world, so they know how hard it is to sit down, write and stick to it until you’re done and then some more.

        And yeah, it was published just last month!
        …in my own country and language :p One of the reasons I’m here is to find out whether I can try and publish it outside of my country once I’m done translating, but I don’t know if any agent would be willing to work with a foreign author.

        ON another topic, I just got very curious about your Zelda Fitzgerald YA. The Fitzgeralds are one of my favorite writing!couples, just under Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath… funny, though, how it’s always the woman the one who’s more interesting?

      • rachelsimon February 22, 2010 at 10:12 PM #

        Thats amazing! Where are you from, Gaby?

        The Fitzgeralds are my favorite writing!couple. They’re just so crazy and heartbreaking. (But Ted and Sylvia are great too.)

  5. Biljana February 23, 2010 at 1:19 AM #

    Ditto on the lack of excitement. Even my sister, who’d been reading it since I began it, was like “Cool. Good job,” and then went back to doing random stuff, haha.

    But it’s interesting that you start your next project RIGHT after finishing the first one, without any editing or anything. Personally, I can’t see myself doing that, because I’m afraid that if I start something else, I’ll be so in love with my next project that I’ll just kick the old one to the side.

    However, I do see why it’d be smart; when you go back to the previous thing you’ve written, you can look at it with fresh eyes.

    • rachelsimon February 23, 2010 at 8:23 AM #

      Not only did I jump right into my next project, I went back to college. So somehow right now I am taking four courses, having a social life, editing one novel, writing another and sketching a third. Honestly, I’m not even sure I’m awake right now…

  6. Gaby da Silva February 23, 2010 at 11:09 AM #

    Wow, you keep yourself busy! I had ideas for another novel as soon as I finished the first, but as Bijana said, I was too afraid that if I started a new project I would stop working on correcting the old one… creativity is just so much rewarding than editing. I do agree that perhaps taking some time before finishing the rough draft and editing it might help create some critical distance for yourself.

    As for where I’m from, I was born-raised-and still stuck in Mexico City, Mexico. Lovely place, but people don’t read (like, a third of the population just doesn’t read, the rest reads under three books per year) so I’m really looking forward to leave…

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