I think it was Stephen King who said, we rush everything we do just so we can move onto the next thing. Or something like that.
Anyway, after a total of nine years, I finally finished the first draft of The Third Rule. Granted, six of those years were spent writing scripts. But The Third Rule was one of those things that I simply had to finish, one of those itches that refused to go away even after I applied copious amounts of E45 in the form of writing scripts. I couldn’t forget about it.
When I took the sabbatical, the book was already something 220k words long and I wasn’t prepared to just let that work wither on the vine. Then I got the chance to finally resurrect the beast, but it wasn’t just a case of simply reading the final pages and picking up where I left off; far from it. The book is complicated and it is complex, so I had to begin from scratch, reading it all, finding out where each character was at in their own personal story, and working out where they were going next within the constraints of the tale. Not easy.
Add a few months of head-scratching, lots of swearing, lots and lots of deleting, plus another 80k words, and I think I’m there at long last.
It felt peculiar to type ‘First draft completed …’ before I retired to bed that night with a huge grin on my face and a warm feeling in my heart for finally accomplishing my dream, nine years after I began it. But there was a tinge of sadness that diluted the happiness. This beast had been in my mind for years and now it was breathing by itself, it no longer needed me.
So I better begin looking for a new project, right? Have I rushed through it (ha, ha) in order to begin another book? No, I don’t think so. I still have the editing to do first, and this is taking as long as the extra 80k words had. In fact it’s taking longer. And I’m not rushing it, I’m forcing myself not to rush it, I’m forcing myself to take my time and make the best job of it I can, no point rushing just to rush something else, right?
As the book unfolded before me, I had made mental notes (error – always write them down!) of things I’d like to include during the final daft, things that I couldn’t necessarily complete at the time. So I still have some first draft writing to complete. It may be breathing, but it’s still on the ventilator just now.