Six Years in Review

So… It’s done.

The book is done.

Or manuscript, rather. I suppose I’m not supposed to call it a book, or a novel yet. But, I mean, that’s what it is to me. It’s my novel. And I’ve finished it. Finally.

3The culmination of six years of work and research and late nights and early mornings and missed meals and anxiety and thrills and fears is sitting here on my computer in 95,732 words. Every one of them hand picked, carefully (or perhaps not) chosen by me in moments of inspiration or frustration or dogged determination. It feels pretty good.

I didn’t have that “ah-ha!” satisfactory moment that I had hoped for when I finished. I actually carried on writing well past 100,000 words, but then realised the story I was telling would take much, much longer than one book. So it’s now a trilogy. But that final, “The End” moment was denied me, the realisation that I was finished dawning slowly on me about a week after I’d written that part of the book. Which is kind of disappointing, but I’m still monumentally pleased with myself.

There were many, many times when I’d considered putting the book down, not finishing it, pursuing something else. But I think I would always have regretted not trying harder, not following through and completing that thing that I’d started so many years ago. I hate, hate, hate, the phrase “giving birth” that authors use to describe their books. I can’t stand it, it makes me mind-retch. But I feel like I would have been incomplete without creating this, and though it doesn’t feel anything like a child–another term I hear authors use to describe their works–it certainly is mine, and I’m very proud of it.

Terrified of it, to be sure. But proud also.

So what’s next? Well, I’ve sent the thing out to every author I know personally and, although no one has finished it yet, I’ve gotten great reviews so far. Honestly, I was incredibly apprehensive as I waited to start hearing back. I expected them to say it was no good, badly written, presumptuous, pretentious, or–worst of all–boring. 

But that’s not the case! So far it’s gotten stellar feedback. Which, is, you know. Just fucking fantastic.

So that’s where I am. Waiting for someone to finish the monster and then let me know how they feel about the ending, which is what I’m really worried about. Another concern is that the entire 95,000 words–which translates to roughly 360 standard book pages–takes place over the course of a single day. That wasn’t entirely intentional.

I mean, it’s the prelude to something gigantic, the catalyst that sets off the rest of the story, but, I mean… damn! One day. Mostly my penchant for going into minutia and highly detailed descriptions of place and setting and history is responsible for that. I want to make sure that the world is clear to the reader, and, yeah. I dunno. Maybe that’s too much. So far no one has complained that it’s boring or wordy or too heavy, so… fingers crossed.

Anyways, once I get some solid feedback I’m going to edit it and start writing query letters and sending it out. And then this little ship I’ve built will set sail on the great ocean of the unknown, it’s little sails desperately clinging to every little breeze to keep it moving forward.

Here’s hoping for some strong wind.

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3 thoughts on “Six Years in Review

  1. That’s great for you!
    I’m in the process of writing a book myself. Not sure hows that’s going to work out but I guess that time will tell 🙂
    Best of luck to you. I enjoy your blog 🙂

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  2. That’s absolutely wonderful. Congratulations.

    It’s funny the phrase “giving-birth” or this work is your child, in theatre they use they same term for creating the show, whether you are the actor or the director, (I doubt techi’s use the birth phrase). I suppose it is the best way to describe the closeness to the work you’ve created. Personally, I think a new metaphor should be created because when I completed my work I didn’t feel like I gave birth. In fact, I had a somewhat similar experience. I had sat with my book for ten years, putting it in a drawer, pulling it out, dreaming of characters, giving up, being inspired, the whole thing- you know- but when I finished, I was alone. I thought, “oh wow. I’m done.” I smiled and imagined a cheering crowed, and then it was over there was no one to cheer with. It was kind of anticlimactic. I started in theatre before writing so it was a different type of completion. A silent one. Anyway, enough of me- it’s your accomplishment and a huge cheer for you!

    As for an entire book taking place in a day, no worries, Ulysses took place in a single day, and so did Mrs. Dalloway, and I’m sure there are others. You’re in good company.

    Good luck with the next part of the process. They should compare trying to get published to child-birth because that part is actually painful, and you need some drugs to get through the labor. And it feels like you are in labor forever! I could go one, but I’ll stop.

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