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The End: the best (and worst) words in the English language

Allison Tait blog
Posted on August 25, 2014

how to finish writing a bookOn Saturday, I typed ‘The End’ on the first draft of book three of The Mapmaker Chronicles.

Book one (Race To The End Of The World) is at the printers, almost ready to fly the nest.

Book two (Prisoner of the Black Hawk) arrived back to me this morning in the form of copy edits (they’re on the dining table, I haven’t yet dared to look…).

And book three is… well, as yet untitled, but finished. Sort of. I have put it in a drawer (metaphorically speaking) while I cogitate on the endless list of notes I wrote myself during the writing of the book, and on Monday I will go back to page one and put in all bits and pieces I’ve left out, tweak all the bits and pieces I’ve put in, add 10,000 words, and remove 5,000 words. Because that’s what editing is like for me.

For now, though, I am sitting here feeling bereft and relieved and sad and happy and thrilled and worried and… all the feelings. I have lived with these people in my head for a long time now. I have always known where they were going, but there have been times when I wondered how the heck they were going to get there.

It’s a funny feeling, this ‘finishing’ business, because I’m well aware now that, really, it’s just the beginning. I remember when I wrote the first draft of the first manuscript I ever attempted, I typed ‘The End’ and thought ‘well, that’s that then, I can say I’ve written a book’. Now I type ‘the end’ and my thoughts immediately turn to the next step, which is starting all over again.

Given that I feel like this at this stage – with book one still to come out, book two still to edit, and book three still to rewrite, heaven only knows what state I’ll be come October 2015 when book three hits the shelves and I really have to let them go.

Fortunately, I have several other projects on the go (as always), including edits on an adult novel, some picture books to follow up and … well… maybe, just maybe, an outline for more Mapmakers books. You know. Just in case.

Have you written ‘The End’ on a manuscript? How did you feel?

12 Comments

  1. Anna Spargo-Ryan

    Yay! Congratulations. You are awesome.

    I felt very unfinished, when I wrote The End. Like it can’t have been, that it was too sudden and easy. Which, of course, was true. But a little rush of elation as well. And something like grief for the characters I was about to miss.

    • Allison Tait

      Yes. All of the above.

  2. Cathy

    Woo hoo well done Allison. So much work ahead, but think of all you have achieved so far 🙂

    • Allison Tait

      Thank you Cathy!

  3. Jodi Gibson (JF Gibson Writer)

    Congratulations Al! I’m very excited for you and your series. It’s like witnessing the next JK Rowling and Harry Potter in the making. 😉
    The End on my very first draft of my very manuscript was an amazing feeling. The euphoria whittled away once I started editing!

    • Allison Tait

      Yes, editing has that effect…

  4. Lisa Turner

    Wow, how fabulous to get to that point, even if it is bittersweet! Congrats.

  5. J M Levinton (@JMLevinton)

    This is so encouraging to me. 🙂

    • Allison Tait

      🙂 That makes me glad!

  6. Karen

    Congratulations, Allison – seems like a fabulous position to be in! I edit in a similar manner – weave in a new subplot, take out a minor character, write another 7000 words, delete 3000, move chapter 13 to chapter 2 – and it takes me 20 drafts! I have never reached the end of any of my manuscripts yet!

    • Allison Tait

      It’s certainly an interesting place to be, Karen. I think, in many ways, we never really reach the end, do we? Even after they’re published, we’re still thinking ‘hmmm, could have done that differently…’!

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