Two nights ago, I finished another pass and read the last words of my WIP. My son actually fell asleep on the ground behind me while I read the last few chapters out loud (which could be a bad sign...). But when he returned after a quick shower, he listened to the very last chapter quietly.
When I reached the end, he asked, "Aren't you going to write some more words?" I told him that was the end, and tried to explain how it began (the end of a journey) versus how it ended (the start of a new journey), and how that seemed like a good way to close the story. Then he wanted me to read from the beginning. But it was bedtime.
I'm still high on the feeling of another milestone met! I know I'm still not done, though. I've fought with deciding the next step. I made a few notes along the way. There were two or three places that needed a quick revision to make the characters/plot consistent. Those are pretty much fixed now.
I reached out to my coach, but he can't meet until next week.
So, here I sit, with tons of motivation and creative juices boiling, and no certain path.
I know there is more to do! I noticed something on this read, though. It's strange how stories and writing shift as the plot moves along. The beginnings are always more descriptive and once the action slips in, the story speeds up. I find myself questioning if that acceleration is the right amount, and if there is more that could be revealed to the reader throughout.
I'm also afraid of those scenes when the character is experiencing something humans would not be able to fathom. Did I describe it well enough? Most of the reviews about my published short story contain the word "confusing." This is my ultimate fear now. Will the reader grasp the experience through my words?
So possible next steps:
- Make another pass and go even deeper with character voice and narrative description.
- Focus on "out-of-body" scenes and sharpen the description.
- Focus on the mythology and reveal more to the reader (sooner?) so it doesn't come on so heavy.
- Add more to the secondary POV so the story has a stronger dual perspective (not much, maybe just one or two extra scenes/conversations).
- Put it away again and work on something else with all this creative fuel. (Really don't want to do this again! I need it to be fresh. Remembering an entire novel in your head while you make small changes without creating huge ripples is as hard as it sounds.)
While I consider these options, here is a piece of early description from the first chapter. I was working on making the description active so the reader learns about the scenery and the story while she explores.
She stood on top of the dune with her eyes closed, soaking in all the vibrations of the planet. She listened to the water—crashing, rolling, sliding, hissing away into tiny holes in the sand. A perfect decrescendo. The scene mesmerized her. Her surroundings comforted her and made her feel at home despite having absolutely no similarity to the constant sound of thrusters, air recyclers, and feet tapping on metal floors. Memories of past lives threatened to surface but she pushed them away. This moment was hers. The ancestors would not take this from her.
I really like this paragraph. It reveals a lot about the character and the threshold in her life she is about to cross.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend/week. Enjoy the closest new moon in a thousand-year span. Pretty strong symbolism for new beginnings and long journeys!