Monday, 1 September 2014

Novel finished - now what?

Yesterday I laid down the last words to my novel. Yes, I'm done! A journey that started back in March has come to an end. I cannot believe that I have achieved this because a novel for me seemed too much. How would I keep a story going for so long?

Now I've finished it I'm not sure what I feel. Maybe an anticlimax. All those days and months of writing, the sag in the middle, the writer's block, the worry of whether I'm wasting my time (that one still lingers!) and whether it is rubbish (that lingers too!). On the other hand I got to love my characters and I fell into their world and now I am sad to leave them. I feel there is more to write (is that good or bad?). What will I do without my daily dose of their world?

Of course the real question is, what do I do now? This is new territory for me. The original aim was to write it and finish it. It was my challenge to prove I could do it. I didn't think much beyond that. So, do I now leave it to settle and come back afresh to edit or do I throw myself back into it? I would welcome some advice here so please do help me out.

A kind friend has offered to read it when I've completed the editing but do I let her or should I find someone who does not know me and therefore will give an unbiased opinion?

There are aspects I know I have to deal with - here is my current list:

  • my main character - have I really pinned her down, personality wise?
  • research - I have some still to do
  • the middle - does it really sag? what needs to be cut, what should I add (that goes for all of it)
  • is there enough action, does it drag anywhere?
  • continuity - does it all fit together without strange anomalies where I've forgotten parts of the early story or what a character did, say, for a living?
  • general tidying up for spelling (I find typing fast on a laptop leaves me with extra letters sometimes!) and grammar. Are the lines right for speech, new person, paragraphs and so on.
  • Is the ending too rushed?
  • Does it work?!

Should I edit on the laptop or run pages off? At present it's typed in single line spacing. My stupid printer now only wants to print one sheet at a time. If I put more paper in the feeder the whole lot goes through at once. I've tried flicking the paper to help it separate but my printer has a mind of its own and drives me crazy with its silly ways (the paper is only one maddening thing!).

One thing I did do yesterday was to back up my file again in two separate places. I intend to keep the originals and create a new document to edit.

I dread editing, I have to say, though at least I know some of what is needed. I did at times rush while the urge was there to write so a certain amount of filling out is required.

Any help (and encouragement) would be gratefully accepted. I feel like I am entering the dark zone now, uncharted territory. The task is daunting. What I need are targets!

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