OMG, peeps. I’ve been working like a fiend at my day job so I could take a couple extra days at Thanksgiving and in between my X-Files overdose and assorted other things, I managed to finish the manuscript for book 3 in my Far Seek Chronicles. Which, in case you were wondering, is space opera.
Long story short, the past 18 months have not been conducive to finishing up projects, for a variety of reasons. So I was really glad to be done with this one, though I’m enjoying the series immensely.
The way my writing process works is that generally, I’ll do the linear thing. From start to finish, and the story kind of morphs organically during that process. I’ll take stuff out, add stuff, move stuff around, but always be headed forward. I knew last week that I needed to take some stuff out of this version, and sure enough I think I axed 10K-15K words (it’s okay–I had plenty of room to spare), re-tooled a few scenes, and finally got the ending. Whew.
Of course, it’s not finished. It’ll never really be finished, because six months down the line, I’ll think, “Oh, man. I wish I’d done that one scene a little differently.” Or, “Why did that character say that?” There’s an angsty kind of thing that I get when I finish a manuscript. A sort of, “Did I get it? Will this work? Or will it be a giant bowl of suck?” That’s part of the fun (ha ha) of being a writer. Anyone who does any kind of art (or inventing or whatever in any field) knows that feeling. You finish something, but you wonder whether you did it “right.” Whether it’s any good, and whether anyone else will enjoy it.
So I like to think of each manuscript I finish as another document of a particular time and place in my writing life. And, in some ways, in my own life. I’ll re-read something months later and I’ll remember what was going on in my life at the time I was writing it, and how I felt when I was working on a particular section. I like to see, too, how my writing has changed from project to project. What makes it “mine”? What makes it MY style and nobody else’s? Yes, in case you were wondering. I have a bitchy inner editor.
Anyhoo, I have to get the manuscript ready for the publisher, and then it’ll go into editing. So even though it’s done, it’s not really done. And then it’ll go into print/ebook format and start its journey beyond my laptop. And I’ll start working on the next installment in this series. And when that one’s done. . .well, you see how this goes.
Writers are never “done.” I suspect many people who have artistic pursuits or livelihoods understand that. I’m not particularly weirded out about it, since I’m excited to get on with the next story. But I like the idea that I finished this one up, and that it’s ready for the next stage. So to all of you out there who’ve finished something up that you’ve been trying to get out of your hair for a while, CHEERS! Take a little time to revel in that. Because as you and I both know, we’ll get right back on the horse in the morning.