Yesterday, I gave birth to my next novel. By that I mean I finally got to write the two sweetest words in a writer’s lexicon—THE END. I know some may think the two sweetest words are UNDER CONTRACT, but I disagree, especially in this new world of ebooks and self publishing.
Getting to the point where you can write those precious two words is (as every writer knows) not really the end, but rather the signaling that a new phase can now commence. I liken writing a book to giving birth because at times it can be exhilarating, painful, exciting, agonizing, a delight or a grind. Plus, there’s the emotional rollercoaster that can easily be compared to the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy. You know those late nights when you write something you think is so good, it must be inspired by the gods. Then when you read it the next day, you feel more like that person in Munch’s, The Scream. Little wonder why the letters on the DELEATE key wear off first.
But now, after only a fourteen year pregnancy, my new book-child is born. Next comes the infant and toddler stage of editing, revising, editing, revising, editing . . . (you get the picture). I’ll have to go in and clean up all the “mess” and hope I don’t make a bigger one when I do. Example: Somewhere in the book the sheriff’s name mysteriously changed from Emmett to Virgil. Thank goodness for Find and Replace.
The school year stage comes next. You get to pick how you want to dress your book-child. Bright covers or dark noire? A landscape or person on the cover? Sexy, bold, simple or sedate? Hire a professional or do it yourself? What do you want the back cover, front cover, and spine to look like? What font? Use your name or a pseudonym? And gosh-a muddy, you’ve got to pick a title, a perfect title, one that grabs the reader’s attention.
Finally, your baby is ready to graduate, to be presented to the public like a debutante at a Southern Cotillion. You’re so proud, so hopeful readers will swoon over her, tell their friends about her, and plunk down their Visa card for a chance to hold her in their hands or see her on their Kindles.
And then, you start all over again with that new story that’s been swimming around in your head for a couple of years. Are novelist part masochists or expectant dreamers? Maybe, a little of both.
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