I never thought I would be writing this post, but I think I’m finally done with the first draft of my book!
And even better, I think a book two might be possible to continue my character’s story!
I just wrote myself to a point that I feel is a good stopping point. I’ve been wondering lately, as I’m over 43,000 words, when I should stop. How do you know when the story is told? When the book is complete? I didn’t want this to become a Stephen King, 1,000 page book that takes the reader months to finish. But I also don’t want to cut my character’s story short. I don’t want to leave readers (or myself, for that matter) hanging and wondering what comes next. I wondered if I would just know when I get to the end in a similar way to how I knew where the story was going next. Every time I wasn’t sure where to go from where I was, I would sit down to write and my character would tell me and I would take down her dictation in my head.
Just now I wrote:
They said nothing and I turned to leave. I turned around once as I opened the door, “This is why we lose to the white devil. One thing they do better than us is stand together to fight a common enemy. They have taught us to run and hide, they divide and conquer. And it will always be this way if we cannot find a way to come together as a people. Win together or lose together, but at least we would have tried. Good luck to you, my friends.”
I shut the door behind myself and walked out of their lives.
This seems like the perfect place to stop. It can absolutely be an ending in and of itself, but it can also be a pause on a story that can be continued in another book.
It feels surreal to have finished. I’m sitting in a hotel room (at a work event) writing during my downtime and to come to the end of the story without any fanfare feels…strange. I’m not at home to run upstairs and jump around in front of my husband, yelling, “I’m done! I’m done!”
My brain whispered, “This is the end.” There are no fireworks celebrating my achievement. No balloons and confetti falling from the ceiling as if I had just won the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right. No knock on the door with a huge check from Publisher’s Clearing House, no cheering from the home team as I score the winning goal.
Finishing a work you have labored over for several years is absolutely an internal celebration. I knew this would be true…after all…my book is the center of my universe, and no one else’s. But it still takes a little of the wind out of your sails that you’ve completed this huge feat and no one really notices. For everyone else, life just goes on.
I know the work has only just begun as I start the editing and publishing process, but it still feels a little bit like I’ve lost my best friend.
This might be why we keep writing.