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And when it’s done

Some time tomorrow or the next day, I will have–touch wood–completed my first novel.  Novella, technically, since it will be about 50,000 words long.  I probably shouldn’t be counting my chickens.  If I come back to this entry later with my goals unfulfilled, it will depress me.  Then I’ll quietly delete it, and hope no one notices.

The chicken counting isn’t about the novel itself.  I’m pretty darned confident at this point that I will finish.  That confidence is due, in no small part, to NaNoWriMo.  The challenge and the structure helped me develop a solid writing habit over the last few weeks.

That habit is where the chickens come in.  They are clucking at my ability to keep the ball rolling.  Okay, time to drop the chicken thing.

My plan, after I finish, is this: one massive edit.  It needs it.  Right now my book has more internal contradictions than transsexual tea-partier.  This is because I knew I had to go back and put in characters and change things, and I didn’t have time to go back, but I kept on writing as if I had done so.  In order to avoid questions like: “Wait, who the heck is Monica, and where did that hallway come from?”, I have to do a lot of fill-in.  In fact, my backfilling will probably give the book at least another 10k, if not more.  This is good, and will certainly take me a few weeks.  I’d like to quickly pay special attention to the first two chapters, in hopes of entering this,  but if it doesn’t happen, that’s okay, too.  So, one big edit.  If I think it’s ready, I’ll give it to my favorite copy editor, the Spousal Unit, along with a brand new red pen.  He’ll need every drop of ink.  I may or may not apply his edit immediately, as I want to step away from the story for a week or so.

Here’s the hard part.  While I’m away from the story, getting it out of my head so I can come back fresh for more editing, I want to take advantage of the wonderful writing habit from NaNo, and keep writing. I have the NaNo novel, a ghost story, I started a few years ago. I’d like to pull that out and see if I can make it work and finish it.  Then, while that’s stewing for an edit, I’ll go back to my current novel.  Then, back to editing the ghost story.  Then, a whole new story. And so on, back and forth between writing new material and editing, ad infinitum.

I am unremittingly terrible at creating habits.  I can’t even sleep with regularity.  But I have really enjoyed this process.  I’ve especially enjoyed the hard days, forcing out those 1667 words when the muse was sitting in the corner, flipping me off.  I shall have to find some other visual motivator, as I love NaNo’s little stats chart, cheering me on, but that, I hope, can be managed.  Maybe my daily word goal from now on will be 1667, in honor of NaNo.

So please, oh gods of writing, I shall sacrifice a dozen V.C. Andrews on the pyre, if only you will help me keep this lovely habit.  Okay, I’d do that just for fun.

I’m hoping, here.  I’m hopeful.  Mostly, I’m willing to work.

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