(Random sunset picture taken by me.)
I finished it the afternoon of January 28 with a grand total of 172,308 words, about 85,000 of which were written during January.
Yeah, so much for the novel that was only supposed to be 120,000 or 130,000 at most.
Then I promptly crashed, just as myself and everyone else around me knew that I would. Also, I caught the nasty sore throat that had been making the rounds of my siblings. Hence, I spent the last 2 weeks clawing myself back from the brink of half-dead.
But the book is done now. Although not one of my most intense stories, it was one of the hardest novels I've ever written for a variety of reasons.
- It wasn’t my usual genre.
- It was an extrovert female main character.
- It was a retelling of not just one but two stories: Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera. The hard part wasn't mixing the two, it was deciding how closely to stick to the originals and how much originality I was allowed.
- A somewhat limited POV. Normally I do a lot of head hopping in my stories and while QBB had some of that, it wasn't as much as usual.
- I had lost my self confidence as a writer. It was never super high, but it had hit rock bottom last fall.
- My soul sister had to drop NaNo, and not having her next to me through the month wasn’t only weird, it was like being used to running in double harness and suddenly you’re doing it on your own.
- Days away from finishing the book, I discovered that somehow I had forgotten to add a chapter to the beta document early on. I rarely make that kind of mistake so it rattled me more than perhaps it should have.
- I was massively stressed out about several things, and wrote the last 30,000-35,000 words over two weeks running on sheer iron willpower and nerve. Cocktail a la Lody, my friend Mirriam called it, and I recommend that no person try it. Ever.
I have never wanted more to both write and take a break from writing at the same time. The last three months were very hard but the book is done and I am elated, pleased, and very happy. I don’t know how good or bad the book is and won’t until I go back to it in 3-5 months' time. The experience was worth every moment of the blood, sweat and tears... but I’m probably never doing that again. ('Probably' being the key word because I don't like to definitively say 'never'.) I'm still pretty exhausted but I'm slowly returning to normal.
A HUGE shout out and thank you to my alpha readers, who were absolutely great; especially Alisa and Kate, whose chapter-by-chapter comments identified holes and questions I needed to answer, and whose reactions kept me cackling evilly or laughing in glee. Also to Mirriam, whose story comments and unfailing encouragement kept me going even when it was darkest. A great, biiiig thank you to my family as well, who patiently put up with my intensity, my detachment, my absences, and my shorter-than-usual tolerance. I couldn't have done what I did without these great people.
So, what’s next? Well, back to blogging regularly for one thing, and I'm thoroughly ready for it. Also, posting at least twice a week on my website/blog: Intuitive Writing Guide. As far as creative writing goes... yes, I do have another project lined up, but I won't be ready to reveal it until next week at the earliest.
For now, it's just really good to be done, and even better to be back.