I’m at that point with the first novel in the “Incomplete States” trilogy that I’m almost finished.
Finished is as relative a term as happy. I’m finishing with the fun part of the novel, the writing process. Once the entire trilogy is completed, I’ll need to endure the work processes of having it edited, cover design, and the other accoutrements to publishing it as a finished work. It all reminds me a quote.
“I love being a writer, what I can’t stand is the paperwork.” ~ Peter De Vries
That about sums it up. I love discovering the labyrinths of logic and plot as I stalk characters from the story’s beginning to its end, although it sometimes feel like the characters are stalking me. Yes, there is satisfaction in capturing it all on paper on on a computer; capturing the words help me more fully develop what the characters are seeing and experiencing, and allows a fuller enjoyment.
But the paperwork also includes editing and re-wording, polishing and refining. I’ve learned to enjoy those aspects more, but I’d rather be writing. So ponying up to the computer to finish writing this tome is not that exciting. I know that I’m just finishing a phase of creating a novel and trilogy. More work is required.
Realization that finishing the first draft is nigh reminds me that I don’t have a celebration ritual. I don’t smoke a cigarette or sip a glass of champagne, or throw a party. Other than, “Yea, me!” posts like this, I don’t say anything to anyone in particular. If someone happens to ask, “What have you been doing?”, I might say, “Finished the first draft of a novel this week.” They usually respond, “That’s terrific. What’s it about?” “Well, shit, why don’t you write it and find out?”, I don’t say. I sort of mentally shrug, smile, and present a label. “It’s science fiction.”
I have studied touchdown dances to see if any of those will work. I’m not a demonstrative person, though. I prefer lurking under the surface like a crocodile, only coming out when forced by necessity. Lurking creates less social and emotional entanglements.
Playing with these thoughts more deeply, I conclude writers and other artists, like musicians and actors, might understand my state of mind. I think this because I think they more fully comprehend the process and the unsaid trappings beneath the process. Many people I meet either oversimplify what it takes to write and publish a novel and shrug it off as “No big deal,” unless you’re a name, or they gush too much about what an accomplishment it is. That renders me uneasy. Yes, I recognize the incongruity and paradox inherent in my state. Writers are more likely to just say, “Congratulations! Well done!” And that pleases me most.
What about all of you other writers out there? How do you celebrate — or react, or behave — when you finish the novel’s first draft?
Okay, time to get going and finish this beast. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.