They say that every writer moves at his or her own pace, that each of us has our own unique methods and processes for creating. There are no rights or wrongs, no definitive checklist to follow, but rather, just knowing that it's done when it's done. I often tell Marsha that a painter has to know when it's time to put down the brush. With that said, it makes me very happy to have finally put the final words down of my first novel, The Shadow Realm.
I read once where Stephen King asserts that no first draft of anything should take longer than three months to complete. Far be it from me to contradict the master, other than to say if I were on his payroll I'd have been fired around nine months ago. But that's okay with me, because rate of completion is just one of many ways in which ol' Steve and I are in different leagues.
The Shadow Realm may not be a classic, instant or otherwise. For all I know, it might be filled with potholes and plot holes galore. That isn't all that important to me at this point either. What is important is that I managed to actually finish writing it - squeezed it in among a hundred other priorities and commitments over the past year, and actually got it all out of me and down on paper. Well okay, down on the screen of my laptop, but you know what I mean.
I guess technically I finished a first draft a while ago, but tonight I put the finishing touches on the last round of edits that I can do and sent it off for beta reading. Tonight, I put down the brush.
And now, almost immediately following the final keystrokes, I feel torn. One part of me says "Oh man, take a break, do not do that to yourself again any time soon!". While another part of me remembers that during a brief creative outburst this past week I jotted down rough outlines for two more books and screams at me to stay in the groove, keep going!
I don't know what I'll do at this point. I suspect I will start into another novel pretty soon, though I may approach it a bit differently the next time around. I also think I will take more time along the way to write short stories, and another Wunderland installment (I have four of those tentatively planned). I'll try and add more updates here as I go along, and maybe even throw out a few Shadow Realm teasers since I've been pretty vague about it so far. For now, I'm going to sit back and bask in having done what an awful lot of writers never manage to get around to doing - finishing that first book.
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