Firstly, apologies for neglecting this blog yesterday. I know some of you were probably expecting a new short story, as I’ve been rather in the habit of promising a new tidbit of flash fiction every Wednesday for the past while, but I hope you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me.
I wanted to blog yesterday. Honestly. I sat with prompt images for almost an hour, thinking. I almost had an idea, and then realised it was nonsense. My brain kept skidding towards my WiP like water draining down a plughole, you see, and I simply wasn’t able to drag my attention away long enough to focus on anything else.
So, eventually, I gave in. I dived into my book, and I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. I wrote for seven and a half hours, straight.
And I finished draft 1.
Now, it’s not perfect. Already, I’m thinking of things I need to fix. I want to rewrite most of the last chapter, for instance, and I can’t help but allow myself to get started into that today. It’s like an itch; unless I scratch it, I won’t have any peace. If I give it a go, I’ll be able to take my mind off it for long enough to start enjoying life again for a while. (That’s the theory, at least). It’s such a strange feeling, writing a chapter which you know you’ll have to re-do at the first available opportunity, but writing it anyway, half in a fever, because you simply must get to The End. The magic words which allow you to sit, staring at your blinking cursor and your word count, and realise that you’ve done it.
You’ve written a book.
No matter that it might never leave your computer hard drive. No matter that nobody else but you may ever read it. No matter that it might be rubbish, or that it needs extensive editing, or that it’s at least ten thousand words too long, or that the final chapter is a load of old horsefeathers. None of that matters when you’re looking at The End. Getting a story to that point is a cause for celebration; it’s an achievement, and should be recognised as such.
This is the fourth time I’ve managed to get to this point in a book (well, fifth, if you count the ‘first’ version of Tider, which I don’t tend to do); only one of these ends, so far, has rounded out a book which is good ‘enough’, or in other words good enough to get me an agent, and good enough to get my hopes up that it might actually make it to bookstore shelves one day. The others have been endings which are also beginnings – they’re ideas which have potential, but which haven’t been fully realised. They’re endings which need to be revisited, and now that I’ve managed to bring another idea to The End, I can think about going back and perfecting the others. Ideally, I’d love to be looking at four endings which I am happy with, which I feel close out a story world which is fully realised and expressed as well as I can express it, and looking forward to bringing more stories, loads more stories, to successful and satisfying conclusions. Maybe as I progress in this ol’ writing career of mine, I’ll get better at writing The End – I’ll start writing it in the calm realisation that I’ve just completed a good story, one which has a proper conclusion that isn’t a mere placeholder – but even if I keep having to muddle through, at least getting to The End is a good start.
Now. The End is in my metaphorical rearview mirror, and I’m off to see what happens next…
*Apologies for the over-drama. I couldn’t help myself.