If at First You Succeed is finished
It’s always exciting to finish the manuscript for my next novel. It’s such a journey to cook up an idea, create the characters, map out the story, and then write the novel. There is a moment of sheer relief when you type the words “The End.” I say “a moment of sheer of relief” because the journey isn’t nearly over yet. My twin brother Tim is almost always an early reader (along with my wife, Nancy), and he’s already nearly finished it. As usual, he’s had some sound editorial suggestions, most of which I’ve already executed. But still, there is a certain satisfaction at making it this far.
You’d think on my seventh novel that it might be getting easier. But I’m hard-pressed to say this novel was any less challenging than the six that preceded it. In fact, I encountered a rough patch on this novel that I’ve never experienced before. When I’d written the first half of this manuscript, I read it over before digging in to write the second half. For the first time in my writing life, I just wasn’t satisfied with what I’d written. It just didn’t feel quite right. I wasn’t happy with it.
So after thinking long and hard about the story, I made some changes. I performed some surgery on the first half that may have lengthened the novel a tad, but I hope also makes it a faster read. Seems like a contradiction, but it’s not. After recovering from this surgery, I barrelled ahead with the second half and finished it last week. I’ve now gone through the entire manuscript one more time, fixed some small things, and made the solid edits my twin bro proposed.
Now it’s off to my editor at McClelland & Stewart, Bhavna Chauhan, and the editorial process begins afresh. I’m sure she’ll have some helpful suggestions at various levels of the story that will make this a better novel. But, we’re getting closer. This post is just my way of pausing for a moment, and feeling good about finishing the manuscript, at least for the first time. I’m sure I’ll be “finishing the manuscript” a couple more times before it’s well and truly ready for your favourite bookstore. As far as I know, we’re on track for its release in August 2019. Seems so far away.