The End

I spent six glorious days hiding out at a friend’s house, working on my nineteenth century novel. I’m sure I’ll share more about the experience once I settle back into my everyday routine, but for now, I’ll say this:

I finished my second draft!

That end point seemed so far away even a few months ago, when I kept getting stuck and interrupted, when I hadn’t yet gotten Henri out of France, and when all my resources were being poured into Forest Avenue Press. Which is still the case. But this break from family and working on other people’s words reconnected me to my own novel, which I started three-plus years ago. Maybe longer? I’ll go back and check one of these days. But for now:

The end!

Sure, I have spots to clean up, timelines to rework. More revising and editing to do, and some continuity fixes due to the major changes in the story. I put an 1858 scene before an 1857 one, so I have to change one or the other. And my first chapter, which I’ve written countless times, needs another major pass.

But oh the quiet, the sunshine, the coffee, the friendship and conversation at meals, the hummingbirds flying over to feed above my head on the beautiful deck, and the uninterrupted kid-free sleep, and the progress. The words, the words, the words. Everything came together in a different way than I expected–and this way is better.

This morning I caught back up with the family and made my big announcement about finishing this draft. My six-year-old piped up and said, “Now you don’t have to work on the computer any more! Yay!” And then she hugged me.

About Laura Stanfill

Publisher, Forest Avenue Press
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23 Responses to The End

  1. Good for you! How did you manage so much time away? Your husband must be a saint!!

    • Yes, he’s wonderful–and my parents too, who worked their visiting dates to include most of that week. With the exception of last week, I’ve gotten a weeklong writing retreat every year since 2008. It has been amazing to clear my head that way and focus.

  2. Laura … that is the most wonderful feeling there is for a writer. It have that sense of completion. How great that is for you !!! And your son was such an angel. He doesn’t know yet that his Mom will forever be caught up in the wonder circle of stories. Congrats on this ending. Blessings for the next beginning 🙂

    • It’s so funny, Florence, how completion is really like another beginning! I picked up with chapter one again this morning. And thank you for the congrats and your continuing support.

  3. What a great thing, both the time and the accomplishment (in other words, it would have been great to get all that writing time no matter what, but the finished draft makes it even better than that).

    “Everything came together in a different way than I expected–and this way is better.”

    This was the week for not following the plan. 🙂 Check out my blog, and Maggie’s:

    • Thanks for the links! Funny how we all changed gears this week. For me, I made some major plot shifts and ended the book way, way before I originally intended. I’ll probably do a post about the hero’s journey map I made (two years ago?) and what percentage of each of my three-part structure ended up really happening.

  4. Congratulations, Laura! This is a huge accomplishment. I can’t wait to read it. 😉

  5. Jan BAross says:

    Congratulatons. This is a BIG moment! And hard won. xoJan

  6. Jackie says:

    It was so fun sharing this with you Laura (and with Henri and the rest of your wonderful characters) and seeing you reach this END!

    • Oh, Jackie! Your hospitality! Your great suggestions! I am feeling so revitalized after a week with you, and for sure I’ll be writing more about the experience in the next couple weeks, coasting on that gift of time and quiet you gave me.

  7. Yay! I can’t imagine how wonderful six days away was! I wish I could get that. lol. Congrats on the draft!

  8. Maggie says:

    Congratulations! Finishing something important is always such a good feeling. 🙂 Peace, quiet, and a break from the everyday routine can do wonders.

    • So true, Maggie. I had gotten into the habit of setting my novel aside for other pressing, deadline-oriented activities, and while that was somewhat necessary, it got too easy to ignore my own writing. Now I’m re-energized and ready to revise–again!

  9. Way to go Laura! I know you’ve been working hard and this is a huge accomplishment. The closer you get to the final product, the more exciting things get as well. At least for me.

    Glad you got such a wonderful hug from your little girl too. 🙂

    • Thanks, Phillip! It has been really hard to squeeze in time, and now that I’m back, I’ve recommitted to working on my book in the early mornings, before the kiddos wake up, instead of working on press stuff. It is getting really exciting to be this close, finally. A few months ago I don’t think I would have even imagined finishing the draft this year.

  10. jmmcdowell says:

    Congratulations! Take a deep breath, indulge in a favorite treat, and spend some time with family and friends. 🙂

    • I should take a little break, shouldn’t I, jm? Instead I’m waking up early, going back to the beginning, and rereading to see what’s there. I’m not quite ready to let it rest for a while–maybe once I read through this and change the little stuff that needs fixing and diagnose any remaining big-picture issues.

  11. Judy Fleagle says:

    Congratulations, Laura! There’s no high like getting something out––especially something that has not been coming easy. I call this phase my creative vomit. Once it’s out, you can clean it up to your heart’s content––until it shines! Enjoy the high!

    • So true, Judy! The more years I’ve worked on this, the more polished it has become, but until this week I still hadn’t reached the end. Now that I have landed it somewhere, I can more fully use my editor’s brain and yank all the strings around to make sure everything pulls through the book. I’m getting there for sure!

  12. Yay! Congratulations! What a GREAT feeling. And, I know you’ve worked hard to get there. Enjoy!

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