Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The End is not THE end, but it's a start


Over the Christmas break, I completed the first draft of a new standalone novel. It’s been a while – partly down to family illness and the loss of my dad, and partly down to getting a new job with very long hours – but I finally typed THE END at just under a hundred thousand words. I have no idea how books always seem to work out to that sort of length, so it’s always a relief when they do.
The best thing about finishing a first draft is that I can now relax and forget about it. For over a year, those characters and their world and their timelines have been taking up so much valuable space in my head, as I try to figure out how their individual threads weave through the story. And my head has a limited capacity, so it’s a huge relief to free up some of that space and have room to think clearly again!
A few weeks away from the book always seems to work wonders. Rather than the mental weariness that comes from carrying the story over the finish line, there’s a return of that restless excitement that pulled me into the story in the first place. With a clear head, it’s possible to see everything afresh, and to enjoy it again. The writing seems to have ‘settled’ into place and, somehow, everything feels more real. I always strive for that sense of authenticity, that feeling of inevitability, where the story simply hadto happen… it’s hard to detect while I’m in the middle of writing, but a few weeks away from the page seems to bring it out.
So I’m really looking forward to going back to this book, and starting to tighten it up. But for now, I’m going to enjoy myself, catching up on some of the books, movies, and TV shows that I’ve been missing.

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