I’ve done it! At 88,472 words Lunatic Fringe is complete. My victory lap began last Saturday with drinks with the sister and teaching straight people in the bar the international sign for hand-sex. I was also very lucky to have the company of Crush Object #1, which kept a sweet air of excitement running through the whole evening. Now, I’m sitting in Caffe Vita in Seattle, with a new tattoo on my arm on a celebratory vacation with my Lesbian Lover. He took me to a friend’s wolf-sanctuary this morning to play with and tend to the pups. It was a wonderful gift, and sated my need for wolf-lovin for a while.
I finished the book at 4am on Saturday, May 22. It was a thrilling feeling. I finished my first draft back in November of 2009, but had since been slogging in the arduous work of rewriting (not editing- Re – Writing, y’all). It’s remarkable how much the book has improved since then. I got rid of a totally weird side-plot involving breeding male solider-wolves. Renee became a much bigger character, the sex scenes became a bit more, ahem, tasteful, and Lexie became so much clearer to me as a character. The editing process took the draft from 102,407 words down to 88,500, creating a much sleeker, more streamlined story.
The most fascinating part of the process has been how much I’ve learned about myself as a writer. My weaknesses and strengths, likes and dislikes, and habits both good and bad. What I learned more than anything, though, is how much I want to keep writing books. I loved the whole process of writing* from soup to nuts. Even when it was miserable, soul-crushing work, the joy I felt for what I was doing was superb. Suffering for this work is the kind of suffering I love. I face challenges daily- challenges to routine, ego, expectations, schedule, social-life, psyche, and on and on. This process has been a wonderful way for me to examine my own personality and habits. I’ve called myself a writer for years, particularly since I actually do get paid for writing on occasion. Now, I’m stepping into the title “Novelist,” and it’s a great fit.
I can see myself slogging through this work for years. I love talking about the book and can’t wait to take charge of it becoming a real thing that people can buy and check out of the library. I want this soooo bad, and I want to do everything I can to make it happen.
We get home this weekend, when I’ll crack open the manuscript and polish it up. After that, I’ll begin the agent-querying process in earnest, knowing that someone, somewhere, will want to represent me and this book.
* I know I’m not “done” with this book, so fellow writers, don’t start laughing maniacally yet. I’m just giving myself the time to celebration this victory. In doing so, I’m reflecting on the process of writing the book. Marketing, selling, agenting, etc will all come soon and very soon.