Those were the words that I typed last Friday, just as my official workday was scheduled to come to a close.
It’s always a pleasure to reach the end of a draft, to have that feeling that all of the story threads have been woven together, that the characters have completed their arcs, that the plot ends have been tucked in, nice and tight.
Sometimes, it’s more of a pleasure than others.
The draft I finished was for a novel in a new-to-me genre. The story grows out of discussions that I first had with my agent almost exactly five years ago. I started the novel three previous times, abandoning each effort because it was seriously flawed in tone, or in character, or in overall concept development.
I’ve always been a writer who creates a pretty solid outline, then fleshes out that outline in pretty deterministic fashion. I don’t make major changes mid-stream. Once I start writing, I keep on till dawn (or till The End.)
But not with this novel. This novel, I wrote a kickass outline. Then, I started writing, and about a quarter of the way through, I realized I needed to make major changes. I made those changes, revised the first few chapters, and moved forward again. Then, about three quarters of the way through, I realized the story had so diverged from its starting point that I needed to revise *again*.
Third time was, ultimately, the charm. Despite summer schedules, unexpected family demands, and a host of other crises, I finished my draft last Friday.
I took the weekend off, completely, to recuperate. I spent yesterday catching up with various online obligations.
And now, I’m back to the normal day-in, day-out challenges of this writing life. But I can still feel that glow from The. End.
(In case any of you are curious – the novel is now in the hands of a few beta readers. After I get their comments, it will go off to my agent, who will pitch it, and (fingers crossed!) sell it. And then you can read it. 🙂 )
Mindy, finding a new rhythm