I finished the draft of my current novel, THE REFLECTING STONE, this morning, which happens to be Mother's Day, 2006! ("Happy Mother's Day!") I took a few days off to rest after working very hard the past couple of weeks, catching up on some much-needed sleep. Then, I got to work and finished the draft a little after 10 am.
I almost didn't write the last chapter. Since I knew whatever I'd write would have to be rewritten anyway to blend in with other changes that will occur during the editing phase, I figured I might save the time. However, I decided to go ahead and do it, mostly just so that I could say that I'd finished the story. However, once working on it, I got wrapped up in it. The story took off in some fresh and surprising ways, casting some events of the story in a new light. I think the recent days of rest helped, since I was refreshed and able to see things from a fresh perspective. I brought out the story points in a very positive way for the reader, leading the reader on, not giving it all away, making the reader guess what's going to happen, how it's going to end, and ending it in such a way that there is something to think about, and a positive feeling at the end. This is not the ending I had planned on, but I like it better now that I see how it brings things together. It's much more satisfying and integrates better the main lines of the story, and also reconnects with the beginning of the novel. It's a fine ending, in my humble opinion. I'm glad I did go ahead and write it and I'd strongly encourage others to completely finish a draft, no matter how senseless it may seem. You never know what you'll discover in the process!
And...I'll admit...when I finished it, I went back and read it and, yes, I actually CRIED for a moment! I cried because I was happy for the characters, and because I was happy to have finished it after seven and a half months of working hard on this project, and also because I knew that it meant not only completion for this draft, but it represented fulfillment of a dream I've had for over 14 years now, of writing a novel! Time and time again my work was stalled as I couldn't figure out how to "bridge the middle", how to complete my stories. This time, I made it! Now I know how to do it! Now that I've finished this manuscript, I know I can finish my other novels. I can see my way through the process to conclusion, something I just couldn't do before. And, I've proven to myself that I am willing and able to stick with it for the long haul. I'm glad I didn't give up!
What's next? I'll continue this blog, chronicling my progress on the editing and eventually my experience in trying to get the novel published. I'll also chronicle my work on my next novel, which will begin shortly.
I'll post again in the coming days with an update on how I plan to go about the editing process, what steps or stages I'll use. I'll also comment on how the planning is going for the next novel, and what the timeline for that will be. I don't know whether I can juggle three novels at this point, as I mentioned in a recent posting, but at least I'll phase in Novel Number 2 as I finish up with Novel Number 1, and keep myself working as hard as I can without burning out.
Let me express my gratitude again for the inspiration, guidance and encouragement I have received from others while working at my writing, not only in the past months, but over the years. Thanks to those who have posted comments to my blog, and to those who visit it without posting (although I'd love to hear from you, too). It's been a lot of fun sharing this work with you, and it has made it a lot more bearable.
BUT AS FOR NOW ... It's time to celebrate! A big moment. A dream has come true. I've had many dreams come true in my life. This is one more. It's an awesome experience.