30 Chances, draft one complete.
Today, I typed the last word in a long work. I have been working on the manuscript for a while, today, after many months, and a year longer than I originally planned, I finished it. At least the first draft, that is. This novel is a severe departure from the kind of fare I trade in. It is not magical, it’s not supernatural, or spooky, it’s not fun, it’s not an adventure, and there is little learned by the last page. The focus of the book is controversial, touches on several hot button issues, and is sadly all too real. This was a difficult book to write. I struggled to complete it because I hated to be in the world I created.
So, why write it? To keep it simple, I needed to. Like the other stories I tell, I have the idea, I write it down, I leave it to its own devices. I work on the top priority at the time and when I’m open to a new top priority, I work on the one idea that yells the loudest. The one that tumbles around and won’t be ignored. This one was persistent, and I didn’t really want to explore the topics it presents, but I couldn’t silence it. So I sat, I wrote, I left it, for days, sometimes weeks, and months. It kept asking me to come back to it.
I would complete some chapters with glee, happy in the characters, their world, and then turn away from completing their stories. The emotional struggle to write something that is repugnant was real. At least, for myself, it is. I would often leave my keyboard depressed and drained. Sometimes, I was so drained, that I wouldn’t return for days. For all the struggles, I never thought my telling of such a story was anything other than necessary. Maybe there’s a reason for that. Maybe someone else will tell it better or first, but I told it my way.
I’ve seen things like what I’ve written and I know what follows. I hope that if others see this work, that it rings true for them. To live through a horror like what I’ve written is painful and too often we have to figure out how to process the trauma and live in a world that can harm us.
I’m happy to have the story out of me, but now the real work starts. Edit, edit, edit, query, query, query. I hope to find an agent brave enough to champion this novel. We will all find out. Today though, I feel low and empty, unlike when I finished my first novel, and the second, where I felt like celebrating. However, I’m ready to fight this fight to get this book out to the world. Edit, edit, edit, query, query, query. I hope to find an agent brave enough to champion this novel. We will all find out. My great hope is that it helps a few people along the way.