The After the Storm revisions are finished!
As of yesterday, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I was able to get 8 hours of truly restorative sleep last night. After a few weeks of 5 hour nights, that was glorious! I knew I still had a problem with a few short chapters at the end (the denouement). This morning, I sat out on my porch and studied them until a lightbulb went off in my head. They were in the wrong order! I moved them around, and voila! Then I worked slowly but steadily, rearranging them on the computer, playing with wording and structure, and finally. . . finally. . . I typed The End.
Again. Because I’d already finished this book once, you might remember. And soon, my editor will send me the line edits and I’ll be at it once more. But for now, I need to simply savor those two beautiful words.
It came to me last night why these revisions were so hard for me. I believe it’s because I never truly outlined this book. I’m a notorious outliner, my outlines often stretching to fifty or sixty pages. But since After the Storm a) was a sequel and b) needed to be written in about half the time I usually take to write a book, I simply skipped that step. Instead, I jotted down a couple of pages of notes regarding the general themes in the book. The themes never did change, but jotting them down was a classic case of telling rather than showing, and the showing is always the challenge. Without an outline, a five-hundred page, very complex story told from four characters’ first-person points of view can get out of control very quickly, let me tell you! I will never skip outlining again. Ever.
Now, though, all is remarkably well. At least, I think it is. I’ll see if my editor agrees, but I have to say I was really pleased with the story by the time I typed The End. It made me weepy many times over. (as my previous post indicated, though, that might not mean a thing).
My characters are far better off than they were on page 1 (well. . . at least some of them are.). And I am definitely better off than I was a few days ago. Tomorrow, John and I leave for Topsail Island for my Thursday book signing at Quarter Moon Books. I’ve never been to TI during high season and I imagine it’s going to be quite the experience! I plan to eat seafood, sign books, watch fireworks with some of my new Topsail Island friends, and SLEEP.
Have a great July 4th, everyone!