That was a truckload of emotions.
I finished the rough draft of my novel Wednesday. I am proud, I am relieved, I am sad, I am trying not to think how much more work there is to do because I have FINISHED this first and most difficult part! The novel exists! All 65,000 words, 35 chapters, they are real and I can begin the process of editing them!
In three to six months, that is.
I have been workshopping chapters with a couple of writing groups, collecting comments and questions and scribbling notes on my hard copy. However, except for the occasional submission, I haven’t gone back and reworked the text. I feel that if I don’t have this rule for myself, I will fall into a loop of endlessly editing the same parts and never progressing with the rest of the novel.
I am even going to put the manuscript into the file cabinet. It’s an important symbol, and perhaps I can trick my subconscious (unconscious?) mind into forgetting the novel and focusing on other things. I want to create emotional distance and come back to my book with fresh eyes, ready to start being ruthless with my comments. If it’s anything like seven years ago, I’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much of it I like.
Of course, toward the end of the entire process, I started asking myself if the story might not work better if told from the first person. My brain screamed, and I told myself to think about anything else, because most of the book was already done in third person and I wanted to have a consistent finish. It’s the sort of thought that could set me down a path of endless revision, so it was better set aside for later. Something to consider when I read the draft a few months from now.
The sadness comes in saying goodbye, of course, though it’s only for a little while. The goal is to work toward a greater goodbye at a later date, when I let go of revision and put the novel out into the world.
Better not to think on that for now, though.