Over a very productive weekend I found myself writing the closing words of the final rough draft of my first book. Two hundred pages of adventures in what I could best describe as a mash up of “Scooby Doo” and “Stranger Things,” and I could finally take a break from the project. I have an editor lined up to help me tighten it up and streamline the writing, making it more attractive and appropriate for print, but that process won’t start until early April.
What surprised me most about finishing the book is just how much mental space/attention span it freed up. Over the past several months it’s been difficult for me to write anything that wasn’t related to Pandora’s Box. When I did have inspiration for a different project, be it Shadowrun character concepts or introduction stories for an upcoming Legends of the Five Rings campaign, I almost felt guilty that I was spending time on those endeavors instead of working on the book I mean to publish. Now that the book is “done” (for the time being, with a determined start of the next stage), I’m finding it much easier to actually devote myself to these other pieces.
I had the most amazing feeling of accomplishment this weekend, the joyous contentment of a job well and truly completed. Though at some points the book had been easy to write, at others it was a slow slog and felt like it would almost never cease; new scenes and scenarios kept crawling out of the woodwork, things I had forgotten from my initial rough outlines that were important to include, but kept extending the distance I had to go. Particularly in the last half the process felt like I was on a treadmill, running but without getting anywhere. Until, that is, I realized I only had a handful of pages left to go—then it became a mad dash through the finish line.
The process for writing Pandora’s Box has been a long one, and I see a similar pattern in store for future works (and yes, I already have several major projects in mind once this one gets further along the publishing chain). It first began as a series of notes and entries on some collaborative storytelling with friends, then morphed into actual blog entries posted here, which served as my first rough draft. From there I opened a blank document and started rewriting the story from scratch, making adjustments and changes necessary to move from the blog-style, post-specific configuration to a more fluid, chapter-based novel. I’m not quite confident on where and how I have my chapters split, but that’s something my editor said she’d specifically help with, so I’m not overly concerned with it.
I’ve sent a copy of my draft to one or two people who were expressly interested in reading it (and perhaps offering their $0.02) before it goes through more editing revisions, and I’m thoroughly excited for where the process will take me next. There’s still a cover to design, local bookstores to contact, and the actual editing process itself. There’s a great deal of work to be done, but I have an overwhelming feeling of serenity right now, having jumped over some of the largest hurdles to date, planting my flag on those waypoints I had never been able to reach with previous endeavors.
Header image from Alex Norris’ fantastic and sardonic webcomic, “webcomicname“