After getting over my initial fears of finishing the book, I wrote the last scene for the last chapter on Thursday morning. Then I started thinking about the epilogue.
This is tricky, because there seems to be, in my experience, two main types of epilogue. The one where everything gets wrapped up neatly with a bow, and the kind where interpretation is left up to the reader. I want to walk a fine line between the two. I want to wrap up certain things, but I don’t want everything perfect. I want it messy, but with hope. So, I went to Sahar, who suggested I read the manuscript as a whole and see what needs to be tied up and what can be left to the readers imagination. Then, I walked away from the computer to think. With ten days to go before I had to finish, I afforded myself a little time to contemplate.
Or at least that’s what I thought I was doing, but of course the voice in my head demanded I do it immediately. And so, that afternoon, I wrote the words “The End,” and I won NaNoWriMo 2019. I was exhilarated, momentarily. I don’t know what I thought I would feel once the first draft was finished, but the sense of sadness that came over me was definitely not expected. “What will I do tomorrow?” became the question.
“Edit,” the voice in my head responded.
Here are some things I have edited: poems, plays, essays, short stories. I have never in my life edited a novel, and I didn’t even know where to start. So, off I weren’t to Google University to figure it out, and of course asked Twitter for advice. Then, on Friday, I edited my first two chapters. I also started working on a Thanksgiving themed blog, but had to be careful not to disclose my winning because I was waiting to do so here.
On Saturday, for the first time in 23 days, I did not sit down at my computer. On Sunday, I only sat for a short time. I couldn’t concentrate. So, I went to read my new Stephen king book, which was a horrible idea because I found myself in awe of the man yet again and thus believing myself to be a talentless hack.
Monday, I sat down in earnest, thought I was not really in the mood. I got myself my coffee and my favorite sweatshirt. My office was trashed because the kids were camped out playing Burnout Paradise on my computer all weekend, so I tidied up a little. Then I edited two chapters, discovered one of them is way too short, and tried to come up with a thousand words to describe a Wal-Mart, to no avail. I pushed on to finish editing most of part 1, then retired for the day because editing makes me frustrated.
What I hate most is that it’s not easily completed. Every time I finish a chapter I want to immediately move on to the next while it’s still fresh in my mind. However, sitting at the desk for five hours is not ideal, so I must force myself to take breaks.
On Tuesday I edited two more chapters and then got stuck in a spot where I described a scene happening differently than it is portrayed elsewhere in the book. So, I deleted all of that and tried to replace the words. Eventually I got frustrated and went to make a pot of coffee and watch 911.
Wednesday morning, I edited part 2. First round done, I opened a new word file to start round two. Tomorrow is a reading and notes day, light considering that it’s Thanksgiving. I write this today because I know I won’t have time tomorrow, what with the Macy’s parade and the pie baking and the dinner at mother’s house.
I plan to send my manuscript to my beta on December 1st, as a sort of early Xmas gift. I have worked my butt off this November and I hope my fellow NaNoWriMo participants are proud of what they’ve accomplished, whether they won or not. Even if you only wrote 1000 words, it’s still 1000 words you didn’t have a month ago. Every little bit counts. In the end, I am very happy I decided to do NaNo. It pushed me to complete something that I have wanted to do for a long time, and for that I am grateful.