The Final Days and Nights of Abandon

Writing in the morning; writing in the evening; a lot of shopping in between.  That was Day 17 of NaNoWriMo.  Something I’ve done before, but first time this month of writing.

Today is Day 18, and I’m just about to the finish line.

Whereas the night before the words struggled to get out, last night I found it necessary to shut down after finishing the current chapters.  I ended up a couple of hundred words short of three thousand for the day, and I could have written more, but I’ve been pushing it hard for a couple of days, working through something that was kicking my butt, and I didn’t want to get into a chapter, then shut down a couple of hundred words in before heading to bed.

Why mess up a good thing?

That’s why this morning finds me thirty-two hundred words short of fifty thousand, and one of the finish lines is in sight.  I stated a long time a go that NaNo is a marathon, where you keep a steady pace and don’t worry about sprinting your way across twenty-six miles of copy.

When you hold it up to that light, then you can say:  the end of your story is the finish line, and the fifty thousand point is the wall that some runners hit.

It’s a very rare occasion–at least to my way of thinking–that when you write fifty thousand, and some plus, for NaNo, that’s it:  you are through with your novel.  I don’t mean through as in “I’ll never have to edit this sucker and make it presentable,” I mean through as in, “That’s it:  The End, put this damn thing to bed for a while.”  You’re going to go a little beyond the Fifties to get to the Endies, and that’s where the Wall is gonna come in.

Something like this happened last year.  I stared out, but before I started writing, I knew I’d venture beyond fifty thousand.  I figured, at first, maybe sixty-five, maybe seventy thousand, but not much beyond that.  Then once I was through with Part One, I was thinking, “Oh, this will be seventy-thousand,” and it wasn’t long before I knew the novel was going to hit eighty thousand . . .

At the end of Day 17, I was a little over sixty-one thousand words into the novel, and would end up writing another twenty-five thousand in the next eight days.  By the time I was into the last few chapters, I wanted it over.  Sure, I’m like that with every story–I want to write “The End” and go off and do something else–but reaching the end of Demonic Majesty was a trial.  I made it though, but it wasn’t the easiest things I’d done.

This time–not so much.  I’ve written far more in the last year before this NaNo than I had before doing Her Demonic Majesty.  That was the first real novel I’d not only written, but completed, and the experience taught me quite a lot.  This time around, there have been a few bumps in the path, but nothing that I haven’t be able to work though.

The end is near . . . but the moment has been prepared for.

And I didn’t have to fall off a radio telescope to learn that.

Re-imaging the Vision

There was a point last night, during the editing of Chapter Sixteen of Her Demonic Majesty, that I found it necessary to slap the side of my head.  I was probably half way through the chapters, and the editing was turning into a bit of a rewrite.  Not that I was changing the tone of the chapter any, but I was cutting here and adding there . . . at one point I was forty words down from where the word count had started, and by the time I slapped myself I was just a hair over one hundred words over where the chapter started–

I sort of mumbled, “I can’t believe I sent this off for publication.”  Because if there’s one thing I’ve discovered during this edit, it’s that I should have never sent Her Demonic Majesty for publication back in June of this year.

It’s not that it’s bad, but there are so many little things that needed correction, and more than a few areas where it needed elaboration.  With Chapter Sixteen, it was really a case of changing around how some things were said, getting rid of a few things that were unnecessary–I sometimes used two or three words to say something, where one was sufficient–and made things a little clearer.  I think there was only one part in one chapter–Chapter Fifteen–where I realized something was likely happening in a room, and I never indicated what, if anything, was done to fix that issue.

So seven chapters remain.  My original plan was to finish up by Saturday evening, put my submission package together Sunday, and fire everything off to Harper Voyager on Monday morning, 1 October.  That will not happen.  I’ve got a new story to start this weekend, and at best I might edit four chapters.

So . . . I will get Her Demonic Majesty off to Harper Voyager before the deadline closest, but I’m not going to be the first out of the gate.  Because to rush at this point would be to half-ass the edit.  And half-assing at this point is little more than admission that I, the writer, does not give a single shit about getting published.

That is about as far from the truth as one could get.

I am under no illusions that I am sending off something perfect.  But, this copy is going to be damn good.  It’s already damn good; I’m in the process of making it better.

Some might say, “Why are you putting all this upon your shoulders?  Get someone to help you.”  The time will come when I will get help, but right now I am sharpening my skills.  I am learning an art form that I didn’t know when I started on this path–and that is the art of editing.  And while editing Majesty, I’m seeing what it takes to sharpen a story.

I am making it sharper.  So when it hits the desk at Harper Voyage, this time it’s going to make someone take notice.

Or such is my hope.

If there is one think I take away from writing, it’s that I don’t know everything.  I am learning each day, and the more I learn, the better I become.  I know now it’s only a matter of time before this is recognized.  All that was really necessary was for me to do the work.

And understand that not all visions are right the first time you see them.