In dealing with this month's theme of "the end" I thought I had come up with a perfect blog topic. A week or so ago I breathed a sigh of relief because I finished a major rewrite of my young adult novel. I should have known better than to celebrate, well to celebrate the end prematurely anyway, because as any writer should know when writing a story, the end is not always the end.
So let me take you back to the beginning, which would have been the end, had I not had this really cool idea...
Idea wouldn't let go of me. He knew something I didn't know. He knew I needed a beginning before I could have an ending. He knew an ending wouldn't happen unless the thought was put to paper... which finally happened four years later... just a few chapters, a few notes, a brief outline while I finished other projects.
"Outline notes and a few chapters are not enough," Idea told me. "Finish."
"Don't you really mean for me to begin?" I asked.
"Begin then," Idea said.
So I began my first draft somewhere around 2003 and finished approximately a year later. Finished, did I say? Reached the end? No. No. No. That was just the beginning - - of the beginning - - of five more drafts - - which takes me here, to the present, to the start of this blog post, to what I mistakenly began to celebrate as the end.
My story is getting stronger. It's in the hands of my writer's group as they critique my work. I know what they're going to say. I know there's more work to be done. In anticipation of that, I've begun to craft another beginning which utilizes tips I recently learned participating in a webinar given by Cheryl Klein. http://chavelaque.blogspot.com/ or http://cherylklein.com/ Anything to make my story stronger. Anything to bring me closer to the end.
I sometimes wonder though if I'll ever be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing I reached the end. If and when my novel is accepted for publication is what I used to think. But I've been around the writing business long enough to know that work on your novel isn't finished just because you've been accepted for publication. Just ask Judy, my friend and fellow blogger, about the changes her editor has requested for her soon-to-be published manuscript.
The end? The end? The end? Will I ever reach the end? Will any writer ever reach the end?
I've come to believe a writer will never be done working. Not as long as ideas are born. Because as we know, birth is a beginning not an end.
So you may be wondering... will I ever submit my story? Not until I have….
1. Had a trusted eye or set of eyes review my work.
2. Read my work aloud so I hear mistakes I was not able to see.
3. And another I've often heard about, but plan to try. Put my finished work into a drawer for a few months. That way, when I look at it again I'll hopefully see my work with a fresh set of eyes and be able to find mistakes I couldn't find before.
Some final words for you to ponder.
Idea has been keeping me awake at night and trying to distract me while I'm driving. I don't ask for him to do these things. He just does. It seems he never wants to leave me alone. And maybe that's a good thing.
Has he come to visit anyone else? In your dreams? In the shower? While you're walking? Some other crazy spot?
Let me hear from you.