A Milestone, Marked. A Novel, Completed.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

My main goal before the end of the year was to complete the rewrite on my novel “The Upterlife.”  This was tricksy, because someone I trust had informed me that the third act was good and exciting and well-characterized, but completely not keeping with the themes of what I’d established before.  “It’s like the first two thirds are the Wizard of Oz,” he opined, “And then in the last third, Dorothy wanders into the Land of Schnozz.”
This was very valuable advice, as it turns out.  I’m prone, particularly on large-scale projects, to just grab for whatever works when I’m trying to knit myself a plot – and that’s not good enough.  A story of novel length needs to answer the question it raises in the beginning, and so this person’s advice was incredibly useful when I was attempting to fix the other novel I was working on, where I also tossed out a nonfunctional third act.  (And what I replaced it with was really, really good – I’m quite happy with it.)
So I sketched out a new and more thematically apropos third act, and then I set to work actually writing it.  Which turned out to be 50,000 words of rather difficult writing, and then a lot of massaging to try to make the facts and tone of the old opening match up with the new last act.
What I’ve got is good.
It’s not great yet, and I don’t know that it will be.  This is the curse of an author; the book I wrote before going back to this is so much better, because I applied all the lessons I learned.  But what I have here is a complete novel, with character arcs and an ending and everything, and it’s a good way to end the year.
I feel drained, as one does when one completes a novel.  I have given birth, and my labor has taken over a month.  But I hit my self-imposed deadline, and tomorrow I will begin the process of nagging my wife into reading it in a timely fashion, and start tweaking all the little bits.  (When I write quick and fast like this, everyone “looks” to indicate emotion, and they make the same stable of hand gestures.  A major portion of Making Things Better involves coming up with body language that’s not taken from stock Hanna-Barbera cartoons.)
It is done.  I did what I set out to do.  This is the last entry of 2013, and it is of triumph.
Go me.

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