The final one is here

Today is a special day for me. For today, I have told the story.

I have entered the tunnel and come out the other side in one piece, with my sanity still clinging to me like a sweaty old shirt. I may still have a final wrap up and epilogue chapter left to write, but the story as it was meant to be told has finished. Characters have died, others have been changed for good or bad, and some will never look at life the same again after I have meddled in their affairs. They have weathered the storm just like me and have survived – even those who were tattered and torn in the process.

To them I say thank you for the journey and for allowing me to finish this part of the story. I look forward to seeing you soon as we carry on the adventure.

word count = 126,334 / 447 pages

The Dynamic Duo

I don’t know what I find more disturbing – the fact that I have 2 chapters left to go or that in looking for an image of the number 19, I came across a site showing pictures of cervices during ovulation.

I won’t be eating lunch now thank you. Or purchasing handguns which appears to be another popular search result for the good ol’ 1-9. Or listening to Paul Hardcastle’s 80s tribute to the very same number. Face it, as soon as you hear someone say nineteen you want to break out into song (na-na-na-na-na-nineteen).

For me, the number nineteen represents the final slog until the end. I’m thankful that chapter 18 is over because frankly she was a cold-hearted bitch that gave me migraines. I’m hoping Chapter Nineteen is a bit more gentle on the eyes (and brain).

Current word count = 116,920/ 415 pages

Stephen King = Writing God

Master of Horror & possibly the Universe

I had forgotten why I love Stephen King.

Yes, we all know about his famous slap down of Stephenie Meyer. (Or in case you didn’t he said that she has no talent. I think he stopped short of calling her a hack, however. And of course, he called JK Rowling the real deal.)

But what about the Master of Horror? What’s been going on with his writing?

The last thing I read by Stephen King was his writers’ manifesto On Writing. More like an autobiography than a writer’s how to, it explores little nuggets of Mr. King’s dos and don’ts for writers while espousing his own road to success (and one very grim, horrifying road accident that almost killed him.)

I came away from this book thinking

1) adverbs ending in -ly are evil
2) I’m not a real writer because sometimes I lose the passion
3) Oh God, please don’t let Stephen King slam me like Stephenie Meyer
4) Oh yeah that first 10% of the book you wrote that you were so precious about – kiss it goodbye

It was daunting and a little scary, but I soon forgot about it as I got on with the work of writing my first book.

And things began to progress nicely with “the book”. It started to flow- I could write 10-12 pages in a day and not be tired. I wanted to write more and say more and I had all these ideas in my head. I thought to myself, By Jove, I’m actually pretty good at this writing lark. I think I even got an itsy bit arrogant about it – the public wouldn’t even know what hit them!

Well, that notion faded a little as some of the later chapters became harder to write, but I still didn’t lose that edge of confidence. Yes, there was a lot of paranormal fiction out there (thankfully, no vampires here), but I would be better. I was perfectly suited for this genre. After all, I was a morbid little girl fascinated with witches, vampires, and ogres who grew up to be a Goth for almost twenty years. I knew the supernatural. I lived it.

That was until I went back and started to re-read my favorite Stephen King novel, The Stand. If I was the Planet Earth, then Stephen King was the Sun and the center of the fucking universe. (I used the F-bomb in honor of Mr. King. He uses it alot.)

Who could argue with passages like this

On Stu Redman’s wife dying of uterine cancer –
The marriage had been the best time, and it had only lasted eighteen months. The womb of his young wife had borne a single dark and malignant child.

Or the colorful, local dialects sprinkled with some of the most imaginative curses ever – Christ on a pony, Moses in the bullrushes, and the list goes on.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg as they say. The descriptions of Arnette, Texas, Hap’s gas station, the menacing atmosphere as everyone gets sick makes me want to cry out, “I’m not worthy!” And I’m only a few chapters into a very and I mean very long book (try 1,153 pages).

How does he do it? Will I ever be 1/10th the size of that sun? (At the moment you could fit 1,259,712 of me inside Stephen King if the logic follows).

But I digress. Stephen King is a writing God. And if I’m every lucky enough to sit down and have a cup of coffee with him, I just pray to the cosmic forces that there’s no talk of vampires . . .

The Final 3

The Final Three. And probably the most painful.

I am down to the final three chapters of my manuscript. In some ways it’s hard to believe that I’m almost finished. In other ways, I’m dreading that last stretch to the finish line.

The thing that they never seem to tell you in writing class is how hard that final bit of writing is.

So why is it so hard?

1) Well, to begin with, I’m tired. Not quite burnt out, but definitely have that edge of being over it. It’s funny. I’m not over the story, which is a good thing since I still have 3 more books to write – and in fact, I’m really looking forward to developing the outline for Book 2 to see how Poesy and the others progress. But I can’t deny that I want to see this book finished and in the hands of an agent. I think I have so much aggro stored up for the agent search that I just want to get on with that next painful portion of the experience.

So being tired doesn’t help.

2) You have to tie up all the loose ends. Yep, the kicker. So if you played fast and loose with your writing up to this point and it took you 3 chapters to say something that you could’ve said in one earlier in the book, it didn’t matter as much. In the final part of the arc, you don’t have the luxury. Bringing home the punch line takes finesse and being the sort of person who takes her time getting to the point, it can be a daunting experience (ed. – it’s not how long it takes you to get there, it’s the experience along the way).

3) And finally, as cringe worthy as it sounds, the weather is changing. The cold, harsh, dark days of winter are the best atmosphere for getting my creative juices flowing. When it’s miserable outside, it’s easy to get lost in the world of your book. A comfy chair, laptop, blanket, and a cup of tea is the perfection mix for me to get down to some serious typing. The Spring not so much. Warm weather, sunny days, birds tweeting – it begs for you to go outside and frolic in the grass. And the temptation grows stronger every day as the sun stays overhead longer and the world erupts in a riotous concoction of color and smells.

You see? I can’t even write about it without going a little overboard.

But I’m almost there. Just a little bit more.

Five to go

Yes. (Breathing large sigh of relief.) I’m down to the last 5 chapters. That means I’m 75% of the way through my first draft.

TOTAL WORD COUNT = 95,062 / 339 Pages

Hurrah! I don’t know if the plot is full of holes like a sieve, but I’ve got almost 350 pages written. That means about another hundred pages to go and I can start to edit. It does beg the question “When is big too big?” (Editor’s note: I’d also like to know why there is so much god damn experimental drum and bass in our iTunes. I blame Dave Hodder.)

Seriously though, my current plan is to focus on getting the first draft done before our big trip to the UK.

Meanwhile, I’ll be going to this –

Virginia Festival of the Book