"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Are These People Smiling?

You probably can't tell that they're smiling. In their typical 17th century royal and aristocratic fashion, they must preserve a dignified facade. But they're definitely smiling on the inside. These four people, the primary characters in my novel, are thrilled to announce that I, their chronicler, completed the first draft of their story this evening.

I'm rather pleased, myself.

Yes, at long (long!) last, the novel is "finished." There's a lot of latitude in that term. It's certainly not yet ready to go to my agent, or any of the editors who have asked to see it.

Now--though not immediately--I will proceed with the fun and truly creative process of revision. I'll be cutting scenes, and possibly some chapters. The manuscript is bloated, it wants analysing and tightening and smoothing. I've still got a few loose ends of historical research to tie up or cut off or something. Shaping the book will be enjoyable. And probably maddening.

But I made it to the end. It's difficult to express how significant a personal achievement it is. Finishing a book is part of my job. That's how I got published the first time, and the eleventh time.

Every project is special, but this one seems more so. I've dreamed of writing this novel for at least a decade. I've worked on it for longer than this blog has been in existence. (More than four years.) During that period I've done many other things, too, most of which impeded progress in one way or another.

I popped a cork to celebrate.

I went to the hairdresser, too. Now that I'm emerging from solitary confinement, I want to look better than I have done in these final days (weeks!)

Am I planning a victory lap? Absolutely. Passport required!

Oh, happy day! Oh, happy night!

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