Author, My writing week, News
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The End is just the beginning

Yesterday I typed THE END on Wherever You Go, my first full-length novel.

It felt fantastic. Freaking fantastic! I skipped through the house to tell Blue Eyes – he’s had to listen to all my character and plot dilemmas since the start, so of course, he was the first person I had to tell. He had tears in his eyes. I think it’s because he’s happy for me, not relieved that I’ve finally finished.

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Today I’m still feeling freaking fantastic, but also relieved … and full of anticipation. And nerves. Hope. Determination. Trepidation. Because I know that typing THE END is only the beginning of the journey for Wherever You Go.

In “Rocky road to publication” (Writing the Dream, Serenity Press), Jennifer Scoullar writes:

“Finally, after a great deal of hair-tearing, wine, chocolate and some sublime moments of inspiration, you type THE END on your first draft. You put it aside for a few weeks to get a bit of distance. You celebrate. Catch your breath. For the real work is about to begin.

You have your painstakingly manufactured canvas. It’s time to create some magic.”

I love the way Jennifer puts it. For that first draft, that “writer’s draft” still has a way to go. There are revisions and rewrites. Agents to find, publishers to research. All of that lies ahead. And more.

What I do know is that I’m well on the way in terms of how polished my first draft is. I’m an unashamed self-editor. A perfectionist, my Serenity Press partner Karen Mc Dermott calls me (she’s not the only one).

Author Deborah Burrows and I were talking about this at the Writing the Dream launch – like me, she edits as she writes and that’s how she likes to write. We expressed our frustration at constant, well-intentioned advice that says “just write anything and fix it later”. That doesn’t work for us. And there are others who feel the same. We say, “Write the way it works for you.”

I don’t outline or plot in advance. I do write in a linear fashion, allowing the story to unfold organically. I don’t write a fast “dirty draft”. I slow-cook my writing. I bring my word-ingredients together and don’t rush the “cooking” process.

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I wrote about this in Writing the Dream:

“Creative writing is like cooking for loved ones. It’s choosing the best possible produce, mixing ingredients, adding seasoning to taste and a dash of love, and plating it up with flair. It’s like alchemy for words.”

My next step is to compile my novel from Scrivener into word and print it. Then I plan to let it sit awhile, like a Christmas pudding that develops flavour over a couple of months. Or, maybe I won’t let it sit too long. I know myself. I want to get this story into the hands of beta readers and then agents. So I probably won’t wait long.

Whichever path I take, this new beginning is going to be fun.

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8 Comments

  1. Sonia says

    A fantastic achievement- enjoy that feeling and celebrate typing THE END – by the sound of it your inner editor has done a lot of the work already. I understand that it works this way for you – it doesn’t for me – I wold never finish .Do take a short break – only you can decide how long that needs to be-When you return to the novel with fresh eyes you will see more. You have a good critique partner in Maureen and when you are both happy with it – then it will be time to call for beta readers. In writing as in life there is no one size fits all- it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you get there

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  2. I am so, so, so proud of you, Monique, and so thrilled that you have reached this stage of your writing journey. The next steps will also be exciting, and there will be more moments of celebration, tears, laughter and skipping through the house to come in relation to “Wherever You Go” and other books in the future — I have absolutely no doubt about that. I’m looking forward to reading the manuscript in its entirety, and have the utmost faith that others (agents, publishers and readers) will recognise its worth. Woo hoo! Congratulations! xxx Love you lots! xxx

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  3. karenmcdermott4 says

    Monique this is such amazing news. What an amazing journey and acheivement. I love and have so much respect for your inner perfectionist. It is all part of who you are and that is very special indeed. Never change that.

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