Yes, dear readers. The end of the first part of this journey has come to an end. I’m proud to announce the end of the first draft of my first novel, The Darkening. Allow me a moment for this to sink in with me ’cause I still find it hard to accept. *Chris breathes deeply*

If you’re in the same boat as me and you’ve just started writing or are about to finish your first novel, I can tell you for a fact that the feeling is strange. For me, there was a lot of joy but at the same time, a lot of emptiness, since the thing I had spent 5 months of my life on was now over. I need to find something else to work on for the next 1-2 months, as I intend to leave the story alone and not even think about it. That’s going to be VERY hard ’cause I need to know I finish things as soon as they get my hands on them. I can’t stand knowing I have things undone. That’s something else I have to re-educate myself. In a way one could say I felt like those people who are obsessed with something for many years and when they finally get what they want, afterwards they are left empty inside. I won’t say it’s not daunting. Quite honestly, it’s scares me. What really freaks me out is that feeling of emptiness. Perhaps at a deeper level I saw this project (being the first completed novel-length work) as the dearest of them all. I’m somewhat emotionally attached to it. Perhaps in a deep unconscious way I always thought I’d be working on it, even though I wanted to finish it. It may sound strange to you but it’s like when parents know they have to let their kids fly out of the nest yet they find it very hard to do so.

Yesterday I wrote two alternative endings for the story, one of which will entail changing a great deal of the book and the main character. So, technically, I wrote The End three times in total. The fact however remains: after five months of writing, I finally scribbled down The End. I wrote Scene 1/Chapter 1 on 9 June 2014 and finished it on 8 November. The original plan was to spend 3 months on it, expecting that writing on my cell phone instead of my PC, wouldn’t interfere too much. I was wrong. At that time, as some of you may remember, I could hardly write 1000 words per day. Which meant that the book took 2 more months to finish.

On top of that, the book was supposed to end at no more than 120k words, from which I was hopeful I’d be able to cut around 15k-20k words during revisions. Alas, the book now stands at a whooping 149k words! That’s VERY bad, as I don’t think many agents would invest the time into something as big from a newbie. Even if I do manage to trim it down by 20k words, I’ll be left with 130k words, which is still not good enough. There’s always the possibility that I will need to squeeze the first 10 chapters/scenes into 2 in order to bring the inciting moment of the story closer to the beginning. If that’s the case then I’ll have to condense 30k words into no more than 8k at best. The thought makes me laugh but, make no mistake, it’s a not a happy laughter 😛

One thing’s true: the book is over! I like the characters and the complexity the main character has (madness and everything). I like the world a lot, which is probably what made me so eager to expand the similarly titled short story into a book.

Wow! I finished a book… Sometimes I catch myself pondering on that and it seems too overwhelming. I mean, it’s been a year and a half since I started writing. In that time I wrote half of my fantasy book, thought my writing skill was inadequate for the story (and pretty much everything else) and the world I had in mind, put it on hold in order to get more experience, started a new book and now… it’s finished. Even writing these words is hard, as my mind goes back and forth on that. To those of you have finished more than a book these words may read as too corny or too self-centred but to me this is huge. So bear with me please. I think I’ll be alright by next week. I think. I hope.

Some of you will be utilising this month to write as much as you can, thanks to NaNoWriMo. Whatever you do, no matter when you choose to do it (during NaNo or any other time in the year), just make sure you finish your book. That’s all that should matter. If you’re as passionate about it as I am (and most of you have started long before I did, so chances are you’re more passionate), then the rewards you’ll reap will be so many and so overwhelming 🙂

I’m going out to celebrate. I’m taking the day off. On Monday I’ll start working on a new short story and perhaps start outlining the next book 😉 It’s going to have a light cyberpunk theme to it, so it’ll be sci-fi. Too many ideas are floating in my head right now.

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