I wrote the ending for Troubled Waters today. Tah-Dah!
I'm told I should feel extremely euphoric at this stage (in fact I believe my state of mind has been questioned), but I don't--and never really have. In fact there's generally this odd sense of "Well? Now what?" like the day after Christmas. I think it's because in my head this is just a stage. Yes, I wrote 80,000 good words, but there is still the rewrite to go and then there's finding an agent and/or publisher . . . Also, on a very deep level, the worry remains-was that the last story in me? OMG! I don't have any more ideas! OMG! It's the end . . . That damn clown I met on Mars the other night was right right! It wasn't just a nightmare! This was all just a fluke! Everything I've ever written until now was just an accident of words. I'm not a writer! I'm a poser . . . Ahhh!
Yes, I know better. Just let me be a little over dramatic for a minute. I've earned it.
For me the accomplishment is not in writing the book itself, but in getting published. Anybody can string a bunch of words together and call it a book. Thousands and thousands of people do it every day--generally badly--but only a few hundred make it into print. I've wound up in the slush pile enough to know this. However I am quite pleased with the finished product this time (not so with Witness Tree) and really enjoyed writing it all the way down to the end. I think that confidence comes across on the page. This is a good story.
I learned a valuable lesson this time too. It is much, much easier to write a book if I do not string it out over the course of a year. Easier to stay in touch with the characters, the timeline and the plot. This was an important discovery for me as a writer. Also this story was born fully developed--no real plotting necessary--just notes and a sense of purpose. This is the best kind of idea as far as I'm concerned.
I am still waffling as to whether or not I need to write in the villain. I think I may try this and see how it "feels". If I do, he shouldn't add more than another 5000 words or so. I'll give the test readers (bless their souls) a chance to weigh in on it and go from there. After that I'll shelve the whole project for a month or so and either edit Witness Tree, write some short work, or maybe just take a break from writing completely. 'Not sure that last one is entirely within my power.
Regardless of what the clown said . . .