I have a hangover. It’s really not fair. In order to feel like this, one should have had to drink in excess, possibly while wearing a lamp shade and dancing on an elevated surface. And yet, my bar is intact, and my pool table is safe. No alcohol passed my lips last night. Not even in celebration.
I finished my novel last night. As the last sentence of the last chapter hit the page, my head started to spin. I sat on a pillow of air, elevated from my seat. My fingers no longer felt the keyboard. My ears buzzed and my heart hammered, and I silently mouthed the words, “It’s done” as tears streamed down my face. I felt like I’d just given birth.
I’ve written a multitude of short stories; so many, that I’ve forgotten what I’ve written. I stumble across them, saved to my hard drive or scrawled in a journal, and I think, “Wow, I wrote that? When?” It just kind of happens at random times. I get an idea and I start pounding away at the keyboard. They’re usually on the order of a few thousand words.
But the novel has been elusive for the last 42 years. Ok, to be fair, I didn’t try to write one at birth…. so make that 35 years or so. Yes, I wanted to write a novel in the first grade. I even tried, and my mom lovingly took my pages — all five of them, detailing the lives and personalities of every horse I’d ever met — and bound them between fabric-wrapped cardboard, green with tiny, white daisies, and tied the binding with bright yellow ribbon.
I was so proud, and I showed my book to everyone. It even won a prize in my school’s writing contest. Second place. I was stoked.
That was somewhere around 1979.
Last night, I felt a truly accomplished. Like I’d finally found my life’s purpose. This story and the characters who are telling it are as real to me as my flesh-and-blood friends. They call me late at night, waking me up to inform me what’s going to happen next. They admonish me for trying to take too much control over their lives. They paint vivid scenes in my quietest moments. They distract me from conversations I’m having or laundry I’m supposed to be folding.
My purpose in this life is to interpret the inspiration that I gather from these imaginary friends. They have stories to be told. Who am I to deny them their existence?
So the first draft of the first book of what is to be at least a trilogy is finished. It clocks in at roughly 60,000 words, and it’s packed with action, emotion, humor and horror. It’s not your typical Hollywood ending. I have one character who is absolutely pissed at me because I’ve not sat down to write book two yet (Seriously Harmon… I have to sleep some time!). He wants out of the predicament book one left him with.
And so, with the buzz of accomplishment still addling my brain, I relegate myself to the task of editing, polishing…. and yes, starting book two (Are you happy now, Harmon?). Getting through 60,000 words and being able to say “I wrote a novel” is an amazing feeling (massive understatement alert!). I know there are plot holes, inconsistencies and grammar errors. Taking out that literary broom and cleaning house is actually something I enjoy. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, the idea of tinkering to full completion is a process I happily anticipate.
So stay tuned! I’m not sure yet if I’ll push this through traditional publishing routes, or self-publish. There is much research to be done. I still have a few months of work to go. But for all intents and purposes, Rising: Book One of the Adept Cycle is written.
The completion of my first novel… The feeling is elation and joy and sunshine. Though I do wish it wasn’t accompanied by a headache.
Happy writing, my friends.