At this point, the last words of my novel, “Swamis,” are, “So green.”
That might change, but not by much. “Yea!” and “yeah!” and “yes!” and, “Holy Shit, the book is done; now what?”
This isn’t the first time I have made it to “The End” of the manuscript. The first completion produced the “Unexpurgated Version.” At around the same length as the current novel (125,000 plus words, 300 plus pages at 12 point, Microsoft word, with each of the forty-six chapters starting at the top of a page), that work became part of the learning process.
What I learned is what I was told by a professional writer, forty years ago, in a phone conversation, me in one of a line of booths at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, on my lunch break, he in a home office (with assistant/intern) in Port Ludlow (and he wasn’t even, like, a famous writer- he was part of a group that wrote some briefly-noted book with ‘naked’ in the title). Because I couldn’t remember the name of the agent who wanted a complete version of the novel I was working on at the time (and I didn’t realize how rare having any positive response from an agent is), and because I chuckled (or giggled), mostly from embarrassment/intimidation, he said, “Look, son; you seem pretty flippant. You’ll never be a successful writer with that attitude.”
“Oh, (giggle), what if I do become a successful writer; can I be flippant then?”
“You’ll be too tired.”
If he meant because the art is in the concept, the storylines weaving and crashing; the work is in the re-working and polishing and the deleting and the making sure the logic line is solid.
It is work; and I love it.
My loving my work doesn’t, unfortunately, mean it’s great. Here is an example: The paragraph, above, the one with all the little breaks in parentheses… yeah, I would probably have to simplify that (periods and such). Ha! Flippancy.
More than a first draft, a copy of the unexpurgated “Swamis” is in a box, each page printed on one side. It is also, along with various other versions, on my laptop. I also have, at over fifty thousand words, a file titled “Sideslipping.” I have shared some of those outtakes on this site. Stories. It’s all I have wanted to do, tell stories; make every fictional character seem as real to the reader as they become to me; real people with real lives. Having known almost seventy years worth of real people does help in this effort; a little of that person, a bit of that one.
I did get feedback, positive and negative, on that version; advice that I took to heart.
Currently, my daughter, Drucilla, is tasked with re-formatting the manuscript, taking out several places where sentences got underlined and her father couldn’t figure out how to get rid of the lines; possibly changing the font. Essentially, making it prettier, more professional. Hurry up, Dru! Oh, and thanks.
Anyway, I am not tired. Then again, I’m not there yet. I have never been particularly good at selling… anything. Never did a yard sale, never won a bargaining session.
So, I need an agent. If you know one or are one, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org