(image courtesy of ADoseofShipBoy on flickr)
Last night — or, truthfully, this morning at 2:06 — I completed the first draft of Gid.
I’ll do the happydance later when I’m not a total zombie, but for now, I’m dancing in spirit.
When I look back and do the math, I wrote just about 10,000 words from Friday evening through Sunday. That’s nearly a quarter of the book. (This is a middle grade manuscript, for those of you playing along at home.) Now, an average of 3300 words a day probably isn’t all that impressive to full-time writers, but for me, it’s a pretty high output. Especially when you consider that about 6200 of those words were written on Sunday alone.
I’ve had the finish line in sight for weeks now. The last six chapters (or what I’d thought would be the last six) were plotted out at the end of January. Oddly, after that feverish morning of and then! and then! and then! I stalled. Some of it was cat vacuuming, pure and simple: “I know how this ends, so I’ll get around to it later.” More of it was needing to mull over a few sticky bits to make sure I got them right.
Still, I progressed bit by bit, and late last week realized I was really, really, super-close to the end. Two chapters and an epilogue! Which is not as cool as six seasons and a movie, but still.
At that point, figuring my chapters run about 1200-1500 words apiece for this book, I couldn’t see a reason not to spend the weekend finishing it.
Of course, every time I put fingers to keyboard, the scenes I thought would go quickly ended up taking longer than I’d planned. Were my writing life a Smurfs cartoon, I’d have been hearing “Is it much further, Papa Smurf?” at the end of each section.
And yes, it was much further.
By the end of the day, even the cats had taken pity and left me alone. Thanks to the magic of Dropbox, I was able to write in Word on the laptop (where I’d parked myself so I could write without the siren song of gtalk and my normal goofing-off bookmarks calling to me) and wheel over to the desktop to import the text into Scrivener.
It seems clunky and complicated, I know, but it worked. The change of scenery was a big help.
The scariest moment came at 2:00 this morning. I wrote the epilogue, saved it to Dropbox, and shut down the laptop.
…only to find the document still open on the desktop from three hours earlier. Sans epilogue. It was asking me whether I wanted to save/don’t save, and of course double-clicking on the file in the Dropbox folder only kicked me over to the one on the desktop. I went with “Don’t Save,” closed it, then reopened the file and crossed my fingers (it still showed the last save as 11:24, which was panic-inducing.)
Somehow, though, internet grace looked my way, and those last thousand words were still there.
Anyway, there it is. A finished, compiled draft, that I will print up and start tearing to pieces in a few days.
For now, though, I’m letting it sit. A few days away from it might unstick some of the more stubborn bits from my mind, kind of the way adding hot liquid to a pan frees up those tasty bits of whatever’s been cooking and makes the sauce even better.
I dig my little clockwork boy and all his friends. When I go back to edit it, I’ll be gnashing my teeth and declaring myself such a goddamned hack, but right now, I’m awfully proud of it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find an IV drip for the caffeine.