The Light at the End of the Tunnel

“Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel is just a freight train coming your way…”

Yeah, sorry, couldn’t pass up the opportunity for the Metallica reference.

Moving on.

But, wow, what a long and trying few weeks. When I said last year that I would never try to edit a full book in a week again, I really should have taken it more to heart. It always sounds like a good idea, until you’re halfway through, going loopy and wondering what you’ve done. Especially when you look at just how much is left to do and you feel that overwhelming weight that there’s no way in hell that the task you’ve undertaken is plausible.

And, in fact, it may turn out that you’re right. However, that’s never kept me from at least trying. Yes, I may have been continuously placing impossible deadlines on myself, but I’ve continued on regardless through each missed one. All the work up to those points is still work. More than would have been accomplished if I’d simply stepped back, evaluated the situation, and said, “Nope, can’t be done,” before walking away for good. I’ve discovered that with many projects, the best thing is to not look at the big picture at all, but to continually pick away at small pieces. Before you know it, you find yourself at the end, able to look back at everything you’ve accomplished.

Now, before I continue to wax poetic, I will let everyone know that this is a post that this book, after so many long years, trying times of frustration and wanting to give up, and numerous self-doubts of if I was even good enough to lay claim to being an author, that there is actually a light at the end of this tunnel. And though I might have said it before, this is the first time that it’s felt real. That I’ve seen an actual end to this long and twisting path.

And by close, I mean that either tomorrow or Thursday this book is being sent to print! No longer just a test copy to look at to keep myself going, or to show people when they wonder about my legitimately being an author to go “This! This is what I’ve been doing”, but the final copy that I will proudly be able to sell to the world. That I’m going to let free to endure people’s judgment. It’s a scary thought, but one I knew I would eventually have to face in this line of work.

I will admit that this last push has not been easy, nor has it gone nearly as quickly as I’d hoped. Then again, though going through ten chapters a day seems completely doable, you begin to quickly realize that it’s not a good idea if you actually want to be able to catch all the mistakes. On average it’s been taking me about an hour and a half to run through a chapter. Coupled with the fact that you can only focus on small writing on a computer screen for so long, it’s honestly just a recipe for disaster.

I might have had a minor breakdown last week, but I pushed on regardless. I’ve left a lot of things behind these last weeks in this pursuit. I even gave up a chance to go to Ren Fest early. As hard as it’s been, I know it will all be worth it in the end.

I had some days where I would go through my writing – the sections between my fantastic rewrite and where it began to filter into my better writing of my first draft, where everything I read looked like complete and utter crap. I had a number of those days where I had to rework sentences to read better, to omit words and a few lines here and there, even add a paragraph or two. And then, I suddenly hit a chapter that hardly needed any work at all. And then, another one after that. I think that was when I was finally able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. The task no longer felt as ridiculous.

From that moment on it’s been better. Though, I will admit that no matter how hard I try, I still seem to get my best work done at night. Late at night. More times than not in this last week I’ve still been awake at 4am. Yet, not fighting fatigue. In all honesty, I haven’t felt this alive in ages. There’s just something about the late night hours that strip away all self-doubt of creativity. The world is quiet, so few people still awake, leaving only you and the project you’re focused on. It’s been a wonderful feeling. Reminding me a lot of NaNoWriMo (Which is coming up soon.)

And it reminds me of one of the most inspiring quotes that I’ve run across is actually from Pinterest, and goes something along the lines of “An author is a writer that has had his work published. A writer is simply someone who has written.” So, essentially, even if you don’t have a book published, you’re still a writer. I don’t have to heft my lofty novel around to claim the title of writer – though it does help.

That being said, as for what’s left to do:

I have a chapter or two left that still needs some minor revision. A small list of things that need to be looked over one last time.

And then, it’s on to the fun part of formatting. And I’m not being sarcastic about that in the least. I love the actual writing. The editing and rewriting makes me want to pull my hair out. The formatting allows my visually creative side take over. That’s not only the sign of the final push to completion, but also gives one the chance to make things look pretty. Something that I have absolute freedom over because I’m self-publishing and doing the formatting myself.

Basically, I have to do all the visual fine-tuning. Making sure all the Chapter titles and page numbers in the table of contents matches – one of my test copy versions didn’t match. Making sure all the spacing is correct. One of the things I’ve been playing with the most is how the chapter titles themselves look throughout the story. In my test copy, I was starved for time – not that I’m not now as well – and only ended up simply typing the names in capital letters. Nothing all that special. Just enough to get the job done. The one thing I didn’t care for was that I couldn’t find a way to make the chapter numbers look good with the title so I simply omitted the numbers. However, I prefer to keep the numbers. Below, is what I’ve been messing with as options. Because it matches the overall darkness and style of my story, I’m leaning towards the second with the Slythra (the winged snake).

  Untitled3            Untitled2

And then, beyond that, I’ve got some tweaking I’ve got to do to the cover artwork, and a possible rework of the synopsis.

Still quite a bit of work, but it doesn’t look so daunting now.

So, back to the grind. And I will see you all again on the other side!

~ Kendrick

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