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The Final Draft

I finished my final (for now) edit of Apart at the Seams, bid goodbye to Rachel and Adam and Arianna and Ethan, and sent the manuscript to the publisher.  There will be more edits down the road and page proofs, and then the book release next winter (January 2014, I think) and publicity stuff.  We’ve talked about doing an additional short story with these characters.  But for all intents and purposes, I’ve said goodbye to them.

Ending a writing project is like losing your bones.  Your mind suddenly lacks structure.  For weeks/months/years, it has been focused on this one project, writing part of it in your mind before it ever shows up on paper.  And then you go through an amorphous period until you find your skeleton again.

By which I mean that I know what comes next; I know what I’m writing next.  But it’s sort of like knowing you’re going to college in the fall.  You have no idea what college will be like, how long it will take you to settle in, whether the place you picked will be a good fit, if you may need to transfer.  Will I make friends with these new characters and think about them throughout my day?  Or will it feel like work to be with them?

For the last 9 months, I wrote like it was my job.  Which is funny since… you know… writing is my job.  But I finally treated it as such, and perhaps I’m the sort that needs a deadline in order to do that.  I got in the habit of doing 5 pages a day/20 pages per week.  I don’t want to get out-of-shape, though I can’t keep that pace over the summer because the twins are home and we have things we want to do.  I plan to keep a low pace over summer — maybe 5 pages per week? — and then go back to 5 pages per day come fall.

Right as I was wrapping up the book, my friend came back to America after working abroad and then traveling for over half a year.  I asked her about the re-entry because I’ve always felt that returning from a major trip feels much akin to finishing a book.  There’s sort of the let down, and the excitement of wanting to relive your trip by talking about it with others, and the feeling that life here has continued without you and you need to figure out your way back in.  Because part of me has been away this year, at least mentally, hanging out with these characters.  And I was the only one there with them.

She pointed out that there is a big difference in your mental state when you return because you want to return vs. the times you return but you could have also been happy staying a few more weeks.  The reality is that I’m done with Rachel Goldman and Arianna Quinn.  Don’t get me wrong; I really really love her.  She will always and forever be my first published character, my oldest fictional friend.  But I am ready for all these characters who are standing in the hallway with their stuff, ready to move into my brain and be my new roommate for the next year or so.

So I’m taking a deep breath, opening the door, and letting them in.

And you guys have about six months to read Measure of Love so you follow Apart at the Seams.  Just sayin’.


1 Kasey { 07.08.13 at 7:42 am }

Just added Measure of Love to my next to be read list.

2 Kathy { 07.08.13 at 7:57 am }

Bittersweet congrats to you! Thank you for sharing part of your process with us. Can’t wait to read this sideways sequel and find out what you are working on next. 🙂

3 Catwoman73 { 07.08.13 at 8:22 am }

I loved Measure of Love, and can’t wait to read Apart at the Seams!!! Congratulations to you on finishing up such a major project. I admire your focus. I have trouble staying focussed on a blog post most days! Can’t wait to see what comes next…

4 Turia { 07.08.13 at 8:58 am }

That is a huge accomplishment! Your description of how it feels to end a writing project sounds rather a lot like what I imagine it will feel like when I finally get this dissertation finished and submitted.

Also- five pages per day?! Please tell me that is double-spaced. When I’m writing (PhD or otherwise), I set myself the target of 1,000 words per day. On a really good day, that takes me an hour, and then I either push forward or move to something else. On a bad day, it takes most of the day to get there. But I’ve always found having a clear expected goal makes writing every day easier.

5 Karen (formerly Serenity) { 07.08.13 at 12:41 pm }

ooooo six months!! I can’t wait. xoxo

6 Mali { 07.08.13 at 3:50 pm }

Bravo! Give yourself a pat on the back, and a bit of a break, before diving back into it. You deserve it.

7 It Is What It Is { 07.08.13 at 4:02 pm }

Kudos! Congrats! Mazel! Bravo! You did it!

8 a { 07.08.13 at 4:12 pm }

Hurray! I hope you are celebrating!

I do like the fact that in my work, I get to finish things regularly. Finishing stuff is sometimes a really good feeling.

9 Brid { 07.08.13 at 10:59 pm }

Congrats, Mel. Editing is always the fun part! It’s somehow less solitary. Ironic because I prefer solitary. Maybe because it means something has been completed. Editing is polishing or (attempting) to perfect something that already exists. Making something exist is always harder than polishing… Congrats again… sorry, longer than it needed to be, but it’s awesome, what you’ve done.

10 Justine { 07.08.13 at 11:48 pm }

Wow, new beginnings everywhere! Congratulations! There was an incredible rainbow in the sky here last night, which for me has always portended the promise of things to come … I can’t wait to see who moves into your head next.

11 Steadfast Warrior { 07.09.13 at 4:02 am }

New beginnings are slightly terrifying, aren’t they? And I hear you on the needing deadlines bit. Without a deadline (and setting them myself doesn’t always seem to work), I can procrastinate far too easily.

12 Steadfast Warrior { 07.09.13 at 4:05 am }

And congrats! So very excited to read the next book!

13 Tiara { 07.09.13 at 12:50 pm }

I really love this post…& identify in a way too. As part of my job I have to organize several event for the entire company. Every detail rests on my shoulders so in the months leading up, my mind is constantly going over details & making sure I’m not forgetting something. I truly cherish the night after the event, the 1st night that I can go to sleep without having it in the back of my mind. In a sense it’s peaceful, but also unnerving to have nothing to think about…until I wake up & have to start on the next event!!

14 Tiara { 07.09.13 at 12:51 pm }

Oh & after that completely self centred comment…Congratulations!!

15 Lori Lavender Luz { 07.12.13 at 4:32 pm }

I’m so glad I get to have one last go-round with Rachel and Adam and Arianna and Ethan (and a brief fling with Lori and Roger!) and that I have to wait only 6 months.

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