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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One of Those Days

I actually hate that phrase. Why did I choose it as my title? People are always saying "Today is one of those days," but it means a different thing every time they say it. So every time someone says that to me I have to clarify what kind of those days we're talking about here. Silliness.

Anyway, today "those days" means the kind of day where it's so very good, you're almost afraid to do anything else because you'll screw up the perfectness of the day. I had one of those the day I got my internship position and all afternoon, I was going around trying to not screw it up. It actually was a good exercise because when my nephew stole one of knitting needles to use as a sword and then didn't remember where he left it, I didn't go crazy because I reminded myself I'd had too good of a morning to get mad over something as silly as a knitting needle.

But I'm getting off topic. Today was that sort of day, because I accomplished something very momentous. I finished the manuscript to my novel.

For those of you who don't know why this is so exciting, let me catch you up. I've been working on my book since last July, and the idea has been in progress since I was in the fifth grade. I've been waiting for this day since I was eleven.

Now you see why I'm so hyper about how the rest of my day goes. What I eat, what I listen to, what I do, will all be part of The Day I Finished a Complete Novel. You can't listen to dumb music or eat something gross on The Day You Finish a Complete Novel. It would ruin everything.

For those other aspiring authors who will read this (the whole two of you), let me tell you something; finishing your story is scary.

Seeing as it was snowing today, and I have no exams, I decided this morning to trade my day of errands for a day at home writing. So I nestled into the window seat, and wrote.

Three and half hours later, I looked up. After a morning of toiling away at my book, after months of writing, rewriting and agonizing over characters and plot lines and punctuation marks, I looked up. All the action I had been planning out for months had run it's course. I had come to an ending that (I thought) was the right amount of insightful and witty. I was done. But I wasn't.

People always say starting a story is hard because you have to draw people in. That's nothing. I can write beginnings in my sleep. Endings suck. Even if you know exactly how it is going to happen. How do you think of an ending line? What words do you end a novel on?

I sat there and stared at my screen for a good fifteen minutes. Getting no inspiration from staring a Pages document, I ran downstairs and started digging out some of my favourite books. How had Gordon Korman, C.S. Lewis, and David Eddings ended their books? They were clever, but the problem is, I didn't write in their style, none of their endings would suit my book. I dug out my writing help books, and looked up the sections on ending stories. It wasn't helpful, all they said was to be sure the story ended when the action did. I'd done that, I just needed one line.

I flipped to the chapter on getting over writer's block. That was even more frustrating. I didn't want to step away from my novel and go for a walk. First, I couldn't see far out my window it was snowing so hard. Second, I was one line away.

Who knew one line could give you so much hassle. I've written different resolutions and ends to chapters dozens of time, and they vary in their success. But this just wasn't a little ending. This was THE ending. I hate books with bad endings, they just leave me so unsatisfied. I had to get this line right.

At my wit's end, I did what I always do next. I started calling my network of writing friends (the whole two of them). Kya wouldn't be home in the middle of the day, but Katey would. The only problem is, Katey hasn't read my novel as much as Kya. She's not as familiar with the characters or how they work.

Ready to cry out in frustration, my salvation finally arrived. Peter came home. My brother is not a writer, but he knows my book backwards and forwards, and has in fact, invented parts of it. The second he came up in the door, I jumped up and exclaimed, "I have one more line! Fix it!"

Knowing my writing moods, he immediately complied. After reading a few paragraphs of the last chapter, he came up with a suggestion that I could work with. I got back to work. What I wrote ended up being more then a line, naturally, but it was an ending. And then I sat and stared at my computer again. I was done. I had a finished copy. Weird.

I will revel in it tonight, and tomorrow, I get to go back and edit! Yippee! Then once I am satisfied, the real fun begins. The writing to publishers and getting rejected part. I'm so excited.

Though to keep up my own morale, I have every intention of writing the sequel during the rejection process.

But for tonight, I am complete as a novelist. I've finished writing my book, for the time being, and feel the need for a solitary celebration.

Break out the sparkling apple juice! Or maybe orange juice. I don't think I have any Martinelli's. Celebration Time!

8 comments:

Kylie Groft said...

May I be the first to write CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! When do I get to read it?

reddmummy said...

Hooray! I want to read it.

Kayjer said...

Congratulations!

I'm curious about the ending (and obviously the rest of the book as well!)

Let me know when you get published, so I can be one of the first to get a signed copy :)

Eileen Young said...

Hope you write in the preface the great help you got from Peter!
Please send me a copy.
Grannie

Katey said...

Strange, I thought that I was rather helpful over the phone! I would never presume to tell a fellow writer how to finish her novel anymore than I'd want someone else meddling in mine. Still, I'm glad you did it. Hooray! Come join me in the rejection letter club (just got another last week). The important thing is to keep trying and keep writing!

Marie said...

Congratulations!

That's so exciting. I have so many books that I've started but never been able to finish. My goal is to get one done by the end of the year.

I want to read it, so you have to give me a copy at some point (either before or after it's published).

Zoey said...

Fantastic! Congratulations! I must now request to join your ever lengthening list of friends who look forward to reading your book either before or after it is published. :)

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