Blood Dawn was supposed to be done this weekend. I even went out to buy a bottle of Argentinian malbec to celebrate the end in sight.
There were three chapters the write. The final Manwen chapter finished with a real bang, even some extra surprises. (I LOVE that final Manwen chapter and it turned out exactly how I wanted it to — even better.) That left two more chapters: the final Venton and the final Skippy. I was really excited about both of them, especially the Venton chapter which I’d dreamed about earlier in the week and was excited to capture.
I wrote the Venton chapter, and something felt slightly off, but I also knew I was supposed to finish because I’d told everyone I’m finishing this weekend, so I prepared myself to move to the end. I would have cleared 10,000 words of writing in the day if I did this.
That was no problem, because I’ve managed big word counts in a day, but there was a problem, much deeper, and it was something I haven’t seen happen in quite some time. Yet there it was: stepping back objectively, the Venton chapter, though written, was a belly flop. It was nothing at all like what I’d seen it being, and not in a good way.
It’s tempting to be so close to the end. I have only 2,000 words to write. I could have easily stayed up and written it so that I could send it all off and tweet / share “DONE”. But really, I’m not done, because I’d have to go back and rewrite that Venton chapter.
I will admit I struggled quite a bit with the choice I ended up making, which is why I decided to blog about this rather than going silent and retreating in shame.
A book must be strong all the way through. Being in the Author Accelerator program has taught me this. Every week, for the last 66 weeks, I’ve submitted pages to my editor and I’ve received input. I’ve sent in strong stuff, and when it’s not as strong as it could be I get feedback to help make it stronger before I move ahead with the next week’s pages. Being in this process has given me some instincts, storytelling instincts if you will, and those instincts kicked in late last night as I finished off that Venton chapter and listened to that gut feeling I had.
I chose to just send in the Manwen chapter then deliver the Venton / Skippy chapter next week, since this gives me a whole week to ruminate on that Venton chapter and go back to it and write it again fresh. I’ve had to swallow my pride, but in the end I’m glad I did it, because my goal is not to rush to the end, but to have a novel whose every page delivers as it’s meant to.
There will be celebration next week — not because I hit the finish line, but because I crossed it strong.