It is done. My novel, The Wasting Embers, is done. Many of my friends will be thinking “but you’ve said that a number of times before?” I have, it is true, claimed this novel to be complete more times than Bush claimed “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq, and with as much accuracy. This time it is true, for in addition to finishing an intense line edit, writing all the acknowledgements and listing quotations, I have emailed the first agent on my list and told her it is ready for submission.
And so it starts again. The sending, the waiting, the rejections. Why do we do this to ourselves?
I always expect to feel elation at finishing a lengthy project, but in truth it’s just pure exhaustion. I’ve lived with these characters in my head for two years, worrying about what they’re going to do, what they’re going to say, how I’m going to justify their bad choices and erratic behaviour. Completion of a manuscript is just a step on the way. I learned this with my last novel, Dog Mountain, which I finished late 2010. Writing To my wife on the title page is not the end of the stress, the worry, the disappointment.
Still, it is done, and once I have a decent night’s sleep, I will celebrate. A complete manuscript is an achievement and achievements mean at the very least a decent bottle of wine.