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Look at that time stamp. 😀

109,000 words. 48 chapters.

402 pages (according to Scrivener, if it was printed in hardback).

Last night I finished Memento Mori‘s 8th complete rewrite, at two minutes to midnight on July 1st. Only a couple weeks past its third birthday. Three years ago, I stumbled onto my main character, Welsan, during an off-the-cuff attempt at flash fiction, and he has dominated my creative life ever since.

Three years on one manuscript. Wow.

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I was excited. So I threw a mini-Twitter-party. Or tried. 

I’m not sure if three years is a long time on one manuscript, or a very short time. I suppose it’s all in how you look at these things. But as this is my first “serious” manuscript that I’ve finished, and the first that I’ve any real hopes of querying to an agent, I guess three years isn’t too bad. I’ve learned a LOT in those three years, and from Welsan in particular.

I’ve learned that there are no shortcuts in writing. NONE.

  • I’ve learned that imaginary friends really can run your life.
  • That plot is more important than description.
  • That sometimes it’s okay to be more direct, and less poetic.
  • That if I can say it one word instead of five, then one word will do.
  • That if my characters have it easy, I’m not doing my  job.
  • That mango unsweet tea is the inspirational drink of champions. Or maybe a peanut butter latte, if it’s the middle of winter.
  • That the inevitable question “What’s your book about?” is a great chance to practice pitching your book – without sounding like a madman – in two sentences or less. (Carpe diem, yo.)

I also learned that fellow writers are the most amazing community in the world. They’ll cheer you on via Twitter at 2 am, and promise you homemade pie if you meet your deadlines. They’ll cover your pinboards with creepy photos that have EVERYTHING to do with your favorite plot twists, and send you breathtaking playlists on Spotify to get you through the wordsprinting slumps.

This is me. For the past three years.

Most importantly, however, I learned that I can finish a major writing project, and more or less on time. If you had asked me that even as recently as two months ago, I would have told you no – I couldn’t. But I was wrong.

I’m glad I was wrong. I’m glad that I kept writing, and that my writing friends – online and locally – didn’t let me off the hook.

I missed my original deadline for Memento Mori by about three weeks. But ONLY three weeks.

For someone who has had the skeleton of this story rattling around in her head since she was twelve years old, this has been a long time coming. And now it’s here.

Nor is the journey over. More edits. Polishing. Spit-polishing. Beta reads and reviews. More darlings to kill (but hopefully only small ones – the big ones were stabbed out of existence long ago).

There’s more work to be done, of course. But for now I’m basking in the finishedness of it.

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This will be me. After I get about twenty years of sleep.

SO….Welcome to the world, Welsan, Jada, Casper, Gallows, Anaba, Raspa, and Manyon. Happy birthday. I hope you like it here! There’s no cake, but there will be more stories…as soon as I get some sleep. 🙂

Meanwhile, you can find my state of emotions somewhere around the middle of this spectacular GIF-fest about the writing process.

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