Last night I completed the manuscript for a novel that has taken more than four years from first idea to the 80693 words that ended up on the page by the end of the epilogue. It was an incredible feeling and I was buzzing as I sent it out to my wonderful team of beta readers. Beta readers are the people who first get to read a manuscript and their job is to encourage and support and yell that the writer has messed up with some serious continuity issues or just plain wow statements. Sometimes the Beta's give critiques or grammar and spell checks but mostly they read it through and say yuck or yay. I wrote the first 50k of it last November during NaNoWriMo but it started much earlier over cuppas and cake cuddled up cozy with my cousin as I told her my idea and we threw the idea around for hours. Every few months she would ask me if I had "written that story yet?" and I began to tell other people about the idea. I researched things like transport and telephones, jobs and wages, ultrasounds and accents. There is not one thing technical in the story that I made up, I consulted experts on everything from hypothermia to search and rescue at house fires and all that research gurgled around in my head and began to formulate the story. This month I wrote the other 28,000 words which works out to about 3000 a day and I hardly noticed it flying by. I did sprints in the RWA sprint and support room where the ladies were there to cheer me on and ask me questions and compete just a little bit for word counts.
My sister asked me why this story has given me such a huge sense of satisfaction and after thinking about it I explained that when I write a flash fiction it is like opening a packet of biscuits and having it with a cup of tea made with a tea bag. Pleasant and quick. Writing a short story like all the ones I put in anthologies over the last year is like baking a cake and making a pot of tea, setting the table with all the nice things and having afternoon tea with a friend. Writing a novella feels like inviting friends over for lunch and pulling out my favourite soup recipes and cooking up a nourishing meal for two or three people and spending time in their company. This novel is a four year plan to have dinner with a dozen friends. The menu is planned and anticipated and there is a huge build up and when it all comes together it is a gastronomic delight and I feel completely sated and have a huge smile on my face.
I have another epic novel in the planning. That one will be a banquet with a thousand people in attendance and I haven't done that kind of catering for a long while. It is in its early stages even though I already have 75k of it, I expect it to be monumental and I don't want to rush the planning.
All of my other smaller writing challenges have been on hold while I finished the novel so I need to get back and complete a few anthology pieces and certainly some art.
This week the theme in 52 week art challenge is Octopus. That could be fun. I have also promised some spooky pictures for an anthology so I might be on the blog for a day or two.