Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Great Work Is Finished

2 years, eight months.

303 pages.

231,558 words (though this is apt to change).

My novel is finally finished.

I typed the last words last night and then let my fingers hover over the keyboard for a few moments, savouring the slightly shocking sound of silence.

I can’t quite believe it. I’ve lived with this story and the characters for such a long time it now feels weird to be without them. But there is nowhere left for them to go. Nothing more for them to say. Their day is done.

And it feels good. This is the biggest writing project I’ve ever undertaken. I started a novel once before in my twenties but it petered out half way through and that failure was always a source of chagrin. It’s nice to have exorcized that particular ghost and proved to myself that I can see a narrative through to the very end.

But of course this isn’t the end. This is merely the beginning of the end. I now have to contend with the rewrites, the read throughs, the asking other people to read it and eventually the submission process. Writing the first draft was the easy part.

And so this is a heads-up to all my dear blog readers. Sometime over the next few months, I’m not sure quite when, I shall be asking for volunteers to read the damned thing. I’m not expecting reams of technical feedback or in-depth analysis, just a simple “yes I liked it” or a “no, it was crap” will do (though any technical stuff would be appreciated).

I’m not going to post it on-line for download but anyone who is foolhardy interested can email me and I will gladly email them a copy. I’m not expecting to be inundated with requests but I figure that at the very least a couple of you might be bored enough to want to read it. Go on, I’m letting you in on the ground floor of the next big thing here...

As a thank you I will ensure that you get a glittering mention on the acknowledgments page... (there, I’m sure that’s clinched it for you).

In the meantime, big spender that I am, I’m going to treat myself to a chocolate bar. A Boost Duo. I think I’ve earnt it.


43 comments:

Owen said...

When you said the characters' day is done, does that mean you killed them all off at the end ? In any case, I think that is amazing that you wrote 300 pages, and given your renowned writing skills, honed to rapier sharp edges in these blog posts, I cannot imagine it is anything other than gripping... I'd be curious to know what it is about... and whether there are any Somalian pirates in the plot. Am not quite ready to commit right this second to volunteering to read it all, as time is a terrible phenomenon these days, but who knows, you may get an e-mail from me yet... (this is using one tool from the novelist's toolkit known as : suspense)

Bravo ! So all in the same year you finished your degree at school, you completed a novel, you swept up new fans with scintillating writing on the blog, you swept up full stop after barbarians who do foul things outside you place of work at night, you flew hawks from your sleeve, you braved thugs in the street and their vicious dogs, you had many adventures as a parent of two energetic young boys ... my goodness, now you just need a new pair of pants, in which to go meet your new publisher !!!

Gina said...

Oh wow, it's finished. Congratulations, Steve! You'll have to go and buy another two pairs of trousers now I expect after the excitement of completion.

I'm game to read depending on when exactly you will want it doing. But I'm not after an acknowledgement - I'm a low profile person me and having my name in a book at the top of the bestseller list wouldn't be quite the thing.

What a fantastic achievement though, Steve. You're a better man than me. Well, obviously . . .

Nota Bene said...

Well earned chocolate bar. Hopefully you will greater rewards that a piece of chocolate. Most people don't get beyond their first chapter.

Steve said...

Owen: regarding the characters - that would be telling! As to what it's about I don't want to give too much away as I'd quite like people to read it blind. All I'll say is, it's called The Book Of Ouroboros and leave people to surmise as they will... If you fancy a butcher's please do drop me a line...!

Gina: that's very kind of you. I want to read it all through and tweak it first before sending it out so envisage that taking a couple or months or three depending on progress. I shall nag people again nearer the time! I might be a better man but you're a better woman... which is precisely how things are meant to be! ;-)

Nota Bene: weirdly the sticking points for me were about halfway through and the last couple of chapters... other than that, while it didn't exactly flow unimpeded from my pen, it did at least leak out at a good rate!

Rol said...

What, you've not even started the rewrites yet? That's half the battle!

Congrats anyway... let me know when the rewrites are done and I may offer up my services then.

French Fancy said...

Oh Steve, I am so proud of you. Only this afternoon I've been reading an interview with John Irving who says how he falls into a state of depression when a book is finished - he hates saying goodbye to the characters. I suppose you feel a bit like this.

I'm the slowest reader in the world - else I would gladly volunteer to read it through for you. I'd still be reading the first draft by the time it was out on the bookshelves.

French Fancy said...

(just been laughing over Owen's comment - in fact most of your commentators are cracking folk - you can guess which ones I'm not including; here's a clue Tomgate)

French Fancy said...

pps - blimey, three in a row- I've sent you a Facebook Friend request.

Steve said...

Rol: half the battle indeed... I'm just realizing that maybe the great work isn't quite as finished as I'd first thought...!

FF: I'm not so much depressed as a bit "floaty". I guess it hasn't really sunk in yet. I was getting to the point though where I wanted to say goodbye to the characters so I think the end coming when it did was perfect timing. As for Tomgate... it was actually Bengate but I know what you mean and who you are referring to! He he he! ;-) Will log into Facebook asap and respond accordingly!

Annie said...

Hey that's great Steve - congratulations!! Got several projects on the go until March but I'd love to read it after then - or should I wait until you do a book-signing at Waterstones?

Steve said...

Annie: Thank you... March will probably be fine. I wouldn't hold your breath for seeing me get a gig at Waterstones just yet!

Gypsy said...

Wow congratulations Steve. I for one love your writing so count me in for a read. I hibernate over the summer months so that would be a good time for me to read though you might not be ready by then. Sing out again closer to the time and I'll let you know. Not that I have any literacy skills whatsoever to offer a professional critique but I can certainly represent the average Joe Blogs.

Steve said...

Gypsy: thank you - the opinion of the average Joe Blogs (or Joanna Blogger) is the one I value the most.

Clippy Mat said...

I would love to read it please count me in.
I am in awe that you managed to do it on top of everything else that you do.
well done.

:-)

Steve said...

Clippy Matt: thank you muchly - I shall do a read through myself and tweak things and then hold you to that!

Valerie said...

Congratulations, Steve ... it's a wonderful feeling when those last words are typed. I went through mine about five times before I was reasonably satisfied and even then I could have edited the thing a bit more. As it's a man's book I'd plump for a male 'editor' if I were you, but as I'm not you it doesn't matter.... grins.

Steve said...

Valerie: thank you! I can see myself going through it several times with a fine toothcomb before I start submitting it to the big boys. Would like to get an agent though... that would be a big help!

The Sagittarian said...

Congrats Steve, I have booked the hutch for when you do your Tour Down Under and Over A Bit. I'll volunteer cos nothing ever happens down this way....and I suspect the only way I ever get my name in books is when I buy them and put my name in. Well done, you!!

Steve said...

Amanda: thank you - I shall add your name to the list. And if you don't like it you can always print it out and use it to line the hutch...!

missbehaving said...

Well done, deserves more than a chocolate bar! I'd love to read it.

I just saw an interview with Wally Lamb yesterday, 'The Hour I First Believed' took him 9 years. Worth waiting for though.

Mark said...

Congrats on the novel. Can't think how to start never mind finish one.

I like editing and rewriting more than writing the first draft, so hopefully you have some fun to come with it yet.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! that`s brilliant. Would love to read it for you and add it to our reading list.

Vicky said...

What a year you have had, and finishing this book is awesome. Well done.

The Crow said...

Woo-hoo, Steve! Good for you!

I would be happy to read it, too, if you'd like. However, if you have your quota of readers, I'll still be here for the next one.

Good job, Steve...I think you are a very good writer.

:)

Joe Bloggs said...

I'm hooked! I'm an avid and good reader, I've even tried writing a... let's just call it crap.. once or twice - and only got 10-20 pages done, 10-20 years ago!

That's got a bit to do with a rock n roll delusion and just a smidgen of booze and pot - but being a sensitive pansy it almost did me in - until recently - and I've already written my second blog

Whoopeedoo... stunned back in a maze... meant to say, stunted but still a few green shoots and a lotless blewfused

Two whole days of scratching out the scribbles and re-scribbling them - and still it's a load of cobblersgook, take a look if you please. Please, please let us have have a read, Steve - youill probably be sorry but I'll pay the postage and you could always ignore any feedback or other whiney voices that came straighjacket out of the hoarse cess mouse

please drop me a line wither yay or a neigh and at
jollyokay@gmail.com

Wee Danes can be a bit foward, so Uhm not sorry to bother you if seek what I mean

Steve said...

Missbehaving: 9 years? Wow. Maybe I've not been so slow after all... mind you the rewrites might take another 2 (hope not). When the time comes I shall contact you again and send you a copy. Thank you!

Mark: yes, I'm hoping rewriting / rereading won't be as time consuming as the initial draft (despite my comment above)!

Anonymous: that's great - thank you - if only I knew who you are!

Vicky: hi new reader that I didn't know about! Thank you! Hope to see you here again soon.

The Crow: a big thank you. As said above it might take me a month or three to tweak it but after that I'll be releasing it into the big wide world. Thank you for being prepared to give it a home.

Joe Bloggs: big thanks to you too! Be patient, let me tweak to my heart's content and then a copy will be emailed to you for your idiosyncratic dissection...

A Write Blog said...

Congratulations Steve.

Looks like a Christmas read for me.

Steve said...

Cheers John... will be in touch later! ;-)

Tenon_Saw said...

It is always satisfying when a project comes to fruition - I'd be interested in a read for, if it is as entertaining as your blog, it will be fantastic. You have my e-mail I believe.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: that's very kind... but I must point out that the novel is of a much darker and grittier calibre than my blog. However, after I've tweaked it I'll be glad to send you a copy!

Old Cheeser said...

Well done, Steve!!! I remember when you started this - some of it is set in Stockwell, isn't it? (But minus Beverley Craven, sadly). I'd love to read it - and I'm not just saying that cos I'm an English graduate/teacher either. I know you are an accomplished writer and a real wordsmith (that constantly comes across in your blog) so the prospect of reading a whole Stevenage novel fills me with even more interest.

Congrats again - you must be feeling a real sense of achievement!!

Steve said...

Aw thanks OC. I will definitely be sending you a copy though you may have to wait a month or two. I'm going to read through it myself and tweak bits and then send it off into the big wide world.

Selina Kingston said...

Oh wow Steve! That's mega! Completely amazing. Congratulations !!
You must be so proud of yourself. Please put my name down, even though I've joined the party late !! x

Steve said...

Selina: stylishly late is fine! As I've said above, once I've spent some time tweaking (and removing embarrassing mistakes) I shall send a copy to all those who have been gracious enough to request one! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Me!! I'll read it! I've just finisged writing my second (academic) book and konw how hard writing is....
Helen (Codd)

Steve said...

Helen: that's immensely kind - thank you. You'll have to let me have your email address though. You can email me at silsetto@[removethisbit]yahoo.co.uk

As you will have gathered from my comments above I'm going to spend a month or two tweaking it and then will send copies out for public consumption.

Löst Jimmy said...

Steve - well done on that labour

I would be more than happy to read through it - I am due holidays in 3 weeks time (the first since January) and that would be perfect diversion for me. I'd be honoured for the opportunity

skatey katie said...

steve!!!
BRILLIANT.
well done you.
very happy to peruse, if i am still unemployed when you finish the tweak X

skatey katie said...

oh PS i have just finished reading the four TWILIGHT books (as suggested by my kids) so i am probably ready to quit my love affair with vampires X

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: thanks Jimmy - that's hugely appreciated.

Steve said...

Katie: thank you - that's very kind. I must say I have been overwhelmed by the response... I thought I'd get one or two volunteers at most!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Hurrah & well done you!!!

Only 15 revisions to go and it'll be market-ready (well that's the average for a novel or so I've heard)

Lx

Steve said...

Laura: 15? 15?! The great work is not finished...! :-(