The End – and so it begins

I’m a happy little Warrior Scribe, for today I wrote those fabulous words: The End. I’ve spent the last couple of years working on a new trilogy. Three books, each of which is a standalone novel, but throughout which an over-riding arc has been playing out. From events in the first book, through consequences of the second, to the final climax in the third. It’s by far the biggest and most ambitious project I’ve ever set myself. And today I wrote The End on book 3.

This one came in at around 94,500 words, making the whole trilogy about 300,000 words in total. Of course, this one is only a first draft, so now the real work begins. Firstly to go through it and add all the bits and pieces it needs to flesh it out and expand the detail and description, as I tend to fly over that stuff in first draft. That means the word count will increase. I’ll also be looking for any gaping plot holes, logic flaws and forgotten threads that I might have left blowing in the wind. For example, with the second book, I was going through the second draft and realised there was a character who’s story I had dropped completely about halfway through. And he was no glyph, or irrelevant window-dressing either. He was integral to the story, but I’d forgotten to wrap up his tale once his primary use had been met. I fixed that up in the second draft.

So the second draft of this one will happen fairly quickly, as it’s when the notes and ideas I’ve had along the way are fresh and need to be slotted in. I’ll give it a day or two, probably have tomorrow off, then next week I’ll get onto that pass and patch in the bits I’ve been ignoring while I got to the end.

Then it will have to sit and marinade for a while.

And then there come the multiple redrafts of spit and polish, looking for repeated words and phrases, smoothing out the prose like a plasterer making a rough brick wall all silky. Maybe spotting plot flaws I missed before. Fresh eyes and mind after a long break are invaluable. That’s when the word count goes down again due to those flashing flensing knives.

Then it’s off to beta-readers. Then I have to fix up whatever issues they might raise. Then it goes to my agent.

Seriously, writing The End is a very small part of the overall achievement. But it’s something to be savoured and celebrated. Because without it, none of the other stuff matters. You have to climb that mountain first and plant your flag. And that’s what I’ve done today. So excuse me while I Snoopy dance.

Meanwhile, the first and second books are with my agent. Hopefully I’ll get this one to her before too long, but there needs to be at least a few weeks in between each of the stages mentioned above. And we have a baby due at the end of October. (By we, I mean my wife and I, not me and my agent!) But that’s life and writers write despite life. And that’s what I’ve done, because I am a fucking professional. So keep your fingers crossed for me that the books find a home. In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate today’s achievement and then get on with some other projects in between redrafts. It might be The End, but it’s really only just beginning.

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3 thoughts on “The End – and so it begins

  1. I’m kinda old school, really. I tried different things, but work best with an Excel spreadsheet for a timeline, a few Word docs for various notes and character details and one primary Word document for the manuscript itself. I find that’s the simplest and best method for me.

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