Within a day or two, I’ll be writing The End. Of course as any writer knows, that really means The Beginning. Yes, I’ve got 75,000 plus or minus words on paper, but do I have a book? I know I have a book-like product, but it’s a long way from finished.
I’m actually surprised to be this far along. I had only a few pages written when I started working in earnest in February. My goal was to pound out 60,00 words before a two-week vacation mid-to-late March. Happily, I met the goal, but to my surprise I kept finding ways to sneak more words onto the page while I was gone. I know there are people for whom a vacation is a glorious opportunity not to think about “work” at all. And that’s where the difference lies. Writing is work, but it’s also a passion.
Here’s what passion means: I was on a tour of Baja (see above photo of the strange boojum tree), that included two up-close-and-personal whale-watching events. Gray whales in the bay where we were located eagerly approach boats to be touched. The first day we went out, the waves were rough and although the whales tried to get close, they hung back because the boats were bashing around so much. Two days later we had another opportunity to go out. I decided to stay behind and work. Yep, forgoing a chance to touch a whale so that I could satisfy my yearning to go forward on my book. Partly, I needed some alone time because as much as I enjoyed the company of the small tour group, I’m used to time alone.
The result of the day was that most everyone got to “pat” the whales. I missed it. But in fact, I was deeply satisfied in my own way. I wrote and wrote, and felt really good about it. If I had it to do over, I would make the same choice. I understand that for some on the trip, they were passionate about a special encounter with another species. I had my own passion to satisfy.
I didn’t have to make so stark a choice on other days, but I slipped off to write 500 words here, 1,000 words there, and came home with a 71,000-word manuscript. So now I’m almost done, and the real work begins—shaping that big stew of words into the book I envision. More next week on the editing process. But as soon as I write The End, I’ll let it steep for a few days.
Book Recommendation: Yes, I know I’ve raved about Adrian McKinty before, but here I go again. He writes about Belfast during “the troubles” in the early 1980s. His protagonist, Sean Duffy, is a Catholic cop in a Protestant world. He’s as real a protagonist as I’ve ever read. The series was to be a trilogy, but he extended it, so I’m reading that strange duck, the fourth in a trilogy. This one is called Gun Street Girl. I don’t just recommend it; I insist you read the whole series.
Sunset on our last day sailing: