Monday, February 2, 2015

To the Moon!

I'm over the moon! After many, many long months of writing, agonizing, and taking turns doubting myself, wondering why I ever thought I could write in the first place, and having daily, sometimes hourly inner pep talks--you know, all the joyful things we authors do while writing a book--I finally finished my latest manuscript this past week.

Yep, it's done. The End. Whew! It's finished, by golly. All behind me now.
Moon over Murfreesboro, TN.
If you look closely, you'll see a
 teensy me hurtling over it. (Not really.)

Or is it?

That's a silly question, isn't it? Just because I finished the story doesn't mean I've arrived at the end product any more than delivering a baby means you've raised an independent, loving, and responsible adult ready to take on the world. It just means you have the stretch marks to show for it.

What it does mean (aside from the stretch marks in my brain) is that I've completed the easy part and am about to embark on the 8th (yes, 8th) round of editing. Since I'm a pantser, I spend a lot of time editing previous chapters--to stall, of course--while I wait for inspiration to arrive. Even after I finish with the editing procedure, I have to send it out to other readers, write the synopsis (ugh), and prepare a brilliant proposal to present to my agent, who, I pray, will love it and send it out to multiple publishers, after which a raging bidding war will ensue. (This is why I write books. I live in a fertile fantasy world.)

I'm hoping this latest manuscript will become the first in a series. Perhaps that's why it took me so long to complete. Not only did I need to establish the plot and characters for this particular one, but I had to keep in mind how I wanted things to play out in second and third books. That whole series idea is a bit optimistic, I know, considering I haven't turned it into my agent yet. But if I have sequel ideas firmly planted in my mind and can then relay that information to the publisher-to-be in the proposal, I'll have a better shot at it. So the work I put in to make a series feasible while writing this book will be well worth it if it comes true. Thinking ahead takes time (for me, at least), but in the end I think I'll have saved myself some grief.

Still, I don't want to short-change my accomplishment. Yes, I have much to do, but I did just complete a complex 100,000+ word novel and I have God to thank for that. Every time I was ready to throw in the towel (or my laptop), He came to my rescue and gave me just enough of the story to let me write a few more pages. The pace was glacial, but in the end, I realized it needed to be. Some books come easier and faster than others, but this wasn't one of them.

However, it is finished. Now I'm free to devote my time to the more difficult parts of manuscript submission, and I hope those facets will be made a bit easier by the fact that it took me forever to get this far. I have all the details in my head. I've tied up all the plots and sub-plots, haven't left anyone dangling, and somewhere in my brain are the perfect synopsis, proposal, and back cover copy. I'll agonize over each of them just as I did with the book itself, but in the end, it will all be finished.

Then I'll be free to start on another one. We never learn, do we?

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