Yesterday, somewhere in the yawning abyss of time between 4:30 and 5:30, I finished the "first" draft of my mystery novel, They Called Her La Llorona.
This is the third or fourth novel draft that I've finished in my lifetime (not really counting other iterations of this particular book), and I've come to realize that, for me at least, finishing a draft is a very mixed experience. Here is my list of the ten stages of finishing, in no particular order.
1. Disbelief. This can't really be the end, can it? *scroll through entire document, looking for a reason to keep writing*
2.Relief. I actually finished, dammit. I beat the odds and this won't be another half-written tale in the pile of shame under my bed.
3. Euphoria. I AM WRITER! HEAR ME ROAR!
4. Doubt. There is so much left to do, should I even be celebrating this minor milestone?
5. Defensiveness. OF COURSE I SHOULD BE CELEBRATING, SELF. How many people ACTUALLY write 72000 words that GO TOGETHER IN SOME CRAZED SEMBLANCE OF ORDER AND INTENT?
6. Lack of Direction. My purpose, my raison d'etre has been THIS PROJECT for the past however many months and or years. Now what?
7. A Million Possibilities. Now, one of those other projects tumbling around on my bigger-on-the-inside noggin can come out to play. Which one to choose?
8. Hope. Because, despite the amount of revision I KNOW I will soon be doing, some of my words are actually pretty dern good, if I may say so myself.
9. Overwhelmed. There are a million more things to do now, like the writing of query letters and synopses and dedications...
10. FEEL ALL THE FEELS! AT THE SAME TIME! MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE.
Excuse me while I stuff all of these reactions back into my pocket and give them a stern talking-to.
Okay, Righty-O then.
THEY CALLED HER LA LLORONA is currently 72,200 words long, and will probably reach 80,000 by the end of the revision process. Probably more exciting than that, to me, is the fact that I wrote this entire draft in A LITTLE OVER THREE MONTHS.
I don't think I've ever written a faster draft without a co-writer.
I'm gonna go dance around my house, now. THANKYOUVERYMUCH.