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.
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.
“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.
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.