Rough draft complete!

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.

Walking

It’s sticky hot in Montréal and I’m already regretting my decision to walk as much as I have today. I had convinced the boyfriend that Home Depot was close enough, that it wasn’t that warm, blah blah blah. We got to sit inside while I applied for financing so we could have appliances delivered to our new apartment, but when it was done and the iced coffee was gone, it was back into the sweltering summer air. We parted ways, and I continued deeper into the Mile End to meet Lisanne for a writing session.

I’ve made it a good five minutes from the store, though it felt like thirty, when I check my phone and get the news that our destination is closed. She’s relocated to la Panthère Verte, which isn’t much further, and I make it there in no time. We greet, I dump my bag, and line up to order. We share a nice meal, me with lots of picking around unexpected mushrooms, and take out our laptops.

The only problem is, the place has filled up a bit and gotten a bit livelier. It’s great ambiance for a date or a friendly debate, but not so much for setting in for some serious writing. No matter, it’s Mile End, there’s bound to be a cozy café we can work in.

We step back out into the miasma and head down Saint Viateur in search of a quiet place. It’s early on Saturday evening, surely folks are having dinner or predrinking before going out. We step into one place, but the vibe is all wrong, there’s bustle and children and noise noise noise. Back out again.

As we walk, we see restaurants and bars, not what we’re looking for. There are any number of cute boutiques, but we’re not here to shop. Before long, we reach Park Avenue (which is always avenue du Parc in my head, #sorrynotsorry) and realise that we’re near where we sat to write last time.

Naturally, we turn left, go back to that same café, and get some solid work done. I broke 10,000 words and nearly finished my sixth chapter. I also had an amazing pistachio chocolatine and a delicious iced mocha, so thanks, Caffè in Gamba! Next time, we’ll just cut the crap and head straight there.

I was so pumped with how much work I got done that by the time we said our goodbyes, I decided to walk the full half hour back home. Fortunately, it had cooled a bit by then, but the bounce in my step wore off before I could make it all the way upstairs. But then I got to collapse into bed and have a very relaxing evening, so it’s still a victory.