Monday, April 13, 2009


I didn't type "The End." Somehow I can never bear to. But on Sunday morning, after a three-hour push, I took off my glasses. The first draft, the exploratory draft of the book is done. 112,000 words and change.

The last of my already-thin objectivity burned away in that final stretch, and I have no idea if it works, whether it contradicts itself, whether it takes the risks I wanted it to, whether the ending makes sense. And there's no doubt it will need some judicious pruning, 5-10,000 words or so.

But still! There were many times in the last 6 1/2 months that I never thought I would get to this point. Part of me is still reeling from the effort, and part is starting to comprehend the sad fact of absence: I have to say goodbye to these characters for a while.

The plan is to print it out, seal it in a box (literally: duct tape and cord) and forget about it for six weeks or so. I won't be able to forget about it, of course, but at least I won't be reading it, tinkering with it, living it like I have for months and months.

Distance enhances objectivity. Because when I get it back out it's time to be cold-hearted and analytical. What works? What doesn't? What almost does? What's in the wrong place? What should be the sequence of realizations, illuminations?

But now it's something that can be fixed, edited, changed, broken down and reconstructed. Now I have something to work with.

Now I just have to wait. And wait. And wait. The only thing that will make waiting out that six weeks bearable will be ... starting on the next project!


Peter S said...

I would say congratulations, but you've only stepped up to the starting line. All the training is done and you know you can run, now it's just the work of running/editing. Hmm. That metaphor didn't work. Well, in a few months, this work will be like a good cheese, moldy and ready for investigation. Ugh. That one didn't work either. No but yeah.

Babs said...

Moldy cheese? Whoo Hoo and Congratulations! What's the next project whilst you're waiting for the cheese mold?

Cristina said...

Hmm...I was thinking that at the end of a book everyone types "The End" and then wipes away a tear and says, "God, that's good" a la Joan Wilder ;) Congrats!