I just finished the first draft of the fourth novel. Mark the time - 230pm Saturday 28th of April. Coincidentally, it is my neice's 21st birthday today. Happy birthday Madalyn Mia!
I'm two months ahead of schedule. The second half of the book flowed out of me (a stark contrast to the first half). A few extra days break here and there from the day job, and a nine day stretch just about to finish, put me in the zone.
It is an immensely satisfying feeling completing the first draft of any novel length story. This one was just shy of 120,000 words. I started drafting it in earnest in November 2010, almost eighteen months ago.
The creative process is by no means complete. The first draft is more like the half way point. Still alot of editing, reworking and all the other stuff that has to happen before there is a product on a bookshelf (virtual or real - ebook or paperback) somewhere. But it is a major milestone.
It is a strange moment because I am a little sad and content at the same time. I have lived and breathed the characters and their journey for so many months (years when you count two other books in the Panopticon series written so far), that the idea I can now have a small rest feels peculiar. I do not want to part ways with them, it is almost a sense of withdrawal, knowing I will miss their company. I am also glad to see the back of them for a while, too much familiarity breeds contempt and, like a houseguest that has overstayed their welcome, I just want to send them packing and be alone for a while.
I have a strong idea for another story in the series, but I feel that if I were to start it now, I would be stale walking along side my characters through another minefield. Exhausted, we would not be able to finish the journey together. Better to let them and me recouperate for a while.
I'll be spending the next several months in editorial - two books (a sequel and a prequel) to be polished into something beautiful. I do not think I'll be ready to return to my children of the light even then so my next project will be putting together a collection of short stories.
A friend said to me today (when I paused for a short break, even this hermit needs to breathe the air outside once in a while) that my writing goals are never ending. Writing for me is like breathing air, she said. It sustains me. That is certainly true, for I get so much pleasure out of the creative process, the tangents where my mind takes me. But there are always little breaks along the way.
Marking the moment.