Monday, May 11, 2009

The. End.

So...I did it! I did indeed finish this baby on Friday. I wrote 20k words in three days, and it all happened so quickly, I actually think I'm in a small state of disbelief about it. I mean, there were points in writing this book that I actually didn't think I could do it, that I either peaked with Time of My Life or that I needed to ditch this one and start over. And so, no one is more surprised than I am (albeit pleasantly surprised) to suddenly have that lightening bolt strike and have everything click into place.

It's funny: I was chatting with some other authors at my reading last week with Laura Dave, and we all agreed on a few things: 1) the more books you write, the easier it gets. (More on that in a minute.) And 2) the more books you write, the more you realize that this is just a job (a great job, but a job nevertheless) and the less exciting it is to hit The End.

What I felt when finishing this one was...relief. :) Well, that's not true. I reread the last 20k, and actually, if I do say so myself, I love, love, love, love it. BUT, when I finished my first one, I was nervous about selling it/AMAZED that I'd written a book, and when I finished my second one, I was THRILLED to discover that I wasn't a one-hit wonder, and this time, I just thought, "Well, thank the sweet lord, because I'm under contract and if I hadn't finished it or if I'd really tanked it, my career would take a real nosedive." Ha. Not exactly what you'd expect.

I shouldn't minimize it too much, to be fair. I am genuinely thrilled at not only what I've produced, but at the fact that I produced it both well and at all, but yes, there is a very different feeling now than four years ago with my first one. This is what I do now. I write books. After this one, I will write another one. It's a wonderful, wonderful job, but it's my job now. There are expectations, contracts, and a need to prove myself each time I publish. I love it. I'm not complaining. Don't even think for a second that I'm complaining, but the feeling between my first book and now is so, so different. I don't know - maybe the same as that honeymoon stage in a marriage and what real life marriage actually is? Is this making sense to anyone? :)

The good news is, as I alluded to above, that every book, in some ways, is easier. This one was harder for a lot of reasons - pressure, expectations, plot complications, a difficult protagonist - but know that I know HOW to write a book, well, that part makes it a hell of a lot easier. I know when to crank up the tension; I know when to throw in more conflict; I know when to dial back characters and how to pace various plot lines.

I don't know - I hope this post isn't too rambling! I guess what I'm trying to say is THANK GOD I AM DONE!! But now I have to write another one... LOL.

Any other authors out there understand what I mean?


Kristan said...

Honestly/Sadly, I am not yet familiar with that feeling, but I do look forward to it. I think there are probably a lot of idealistic writers out there who never want to lose the first-time glow, but to me, what you've described (the evolution) sounds absolutely perfect.

Congrats on finishing!

Anonymous said...

Great news! Are you really done done or do you have to run it by your agent? I would imagine you will have revisions?

Congrats on "The End"

larramiefg said...

This reader understands, Allison, and is most grateful to you and all authors for doing that job!

Again, congratulations!

sarah pekkanen said...

I'm still in the honeymoon phase, since I sold the first one and am writing the second one while I wait for the first book to come out. And I completely understand you can't sustain that level of excitement/disbelief forever, but for now, even a quick email from my agent makes my heart skip a beat. I have an agent! Gaah! Is it actually real? But I think whatever kind of reality you live becomes normal to you after a while. In fact, I always wonder if that's why some big celebrities do drugs/take up skydiving, etc -- because their threshold of excitement has been driven up so much higher than normal folks'. Okay, I'm rambling now but yes, your post makes sense. This is an art and a business and for many of us, the writing is more of a hard-fought craft than the artistic 20k endorphin-rush you experienced at the end of your book. But I'm so glad you had those three days!
Now, can I ask a question (assuming anyone is still reading?)
You said in one post you only work on your book about an hour a day -- did I get that right? Do you do it first thing in the morning or after your freelance work? And how often do you violate that rule?

Aidan Donnelley Rowley said...

Congrats! Thanks for the inspiration to keep chugging along!

Karen Dietrich said...

I'm so happy for you, Allison! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about your progress with this book...and of course, I can't wait until it's published. Eat an extra Kit Kat to celebrate :)

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Thanks so much, everyone! I do still have to go through a revise but for me, this is always the hardest part. The rest is just tweaking.

Sarah - I'll pull out your question and answer it on the main blog.

And Karen - I just had a mini-Twix. :)

Nadia Damon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nadia Damon said...

Hi Allison,
Well done on the MS - I'm still on my first one, so long for all the feelings you've described!

I'd be really interested to hear more about how you approach those plot complications you refer to. I thought I'd conceived the perfect idea (ha ha!) but I've subsequently encountered problems due to my complex storyline and issues with character motivation - ie, as I have got to know my characters better I have realised that they just wouldn't do some of the things I had planned.

I have changed these sections immediately, but then maybe gone down a different path later.

Don't get me wrong, I think I've been fairly organised and these haven't turned out to be huge problems once I've sat down and reconsidered things, but I'd be interested to know how you would approach this sort of thing.

Best regards,

Amie Stuart said...

Do you just want to let your head hit the desk (kind of like Charlie Brown and the typewriter? LOL). Yes I can relate.

I feel like I'm coming out of that seven year itch phase of the marriage (not that I KNOW what the 7 year itch really is cuz I was only married 3 years LOL)

Unknown said...

Wooo! Congratulations! So glad to hear not just that you're done, but that you're feeling so good about the book. Sometimes we forget in the hustle and bustle and angst of being writers that there is so much JOY in writing. Savor it!

Kathy McCleary said...

Yes, I know what you mean! My first novel came out last year and I'm working on revising my second. I wrote the first one just for myself, with no expectation that it would be published, and was thrilled when I sold it within weeks of finishing it. With the second, I'm very aware that my agent and editor and publisher and readers will be reading it and analyzing whether it's as good as my first, or too similar to my first, or not as funny as my first—as Charlie Brown would say, "Aaargh." In revising, I'm trying to get back to that feeling of just writing to tell my story, and not to please potential readers.

Do you think about your readers as you write? Does that work for/against you? How do you NOT think about all this stuff?

kate hopper said...

Congratulations, Allison! I'm so happy for you!!

tootie said...

Congrats on finishing!! said...

Allison, I know I tweeted this the day you finished, but many congrats, enjoy the accomplishment!

Madison Grace Lovewith, The Happy Chance said...

Wow! Congrats on such an accomplishment. 20K words in only three days is amazing!

At some point in our lives I think we all go through "that year." I know I'm going through mine. But I take comfort in knowing that I'll be a much stronger person once I've persevered. And once "that year" ends for me, I'm sure it will be painful for me to look back at all the events that occurred. But it is a way to learn from it. And writing definitely helps.

Christina Katz said...

Congrats, Allison! This is (was) a huge deal.

Just wanted to share the moment (even though it's now passed).

Way to go!

:) Christina

caboozie said...

I'm working on revisions for my first book and I don't even have an agent yet, but I can already appreciate how you feel. You wonder how your going to continue to top yourself. It's one thing to be published, but I don't think people realize you have to STAY published--probably not always so easy. I think alot about best selling authors that were so hot at one time and now you don't hear a thing about them--they just seemed to have disappeared, so yeah--I feel your concerns.