The end of a long journey; the start of another

Metro: Last Light

After roughly two years of writing, editing, editing, and more editing (and some more editing after that, in case you were wondering), I finally completed my latest manuscript last night. 160,000 words and two years of hard work later, this is the part where I get to start drinking, right? Not in a celebratory way, just to give my brain a goddamn break.

The initial writing period took about six months, and, silly me, I thought I'd be done editing just a few months later. After all, my last manuscript took two months to write and one month to edit (a 70k-word YA novel that can only be described as "shit" by those who've read it ... aka me).  But after year-and-a-half of brain-gnashing revisions, a total of six drafts (six?!), and the feedback from two killer beta readers, I've finally reached the summit. Or I guess base camp. The summit is just ... way the fuck up there still ...

I learned a lot about myself over the past two years, and a lot more about who I am as a writer. I started out my latest manuscript by sitting down and typing out the first chapter. I knew nothing about the story, nothing about the characters, and, really, nothing about myself. I just wanted to write another story. I deleted that opening chapter more than a year ago, and then wrote a different one. Shrugs. The first chapter was useless. Hell, most of the first draft was useless, but the whole process had to happen for the story to be properly forged. Every failure, every frustration, was a chance to unlock the real story beneath.

Writing is fun, but editing is necessary, and I'm so glad I refused to settle.

Two years ago, I wasn't a writer, I was a guy who wanted to be one and was thankfully ready to push himself. It wasn't a glamorous decision -- to dive into the darkest recesses of your brain and try to drag those thoughts back up to the surface for other people to read -- but it was one I learned I can't live without. I need to write, I need to flesh out the worlds assembling in my head, I need to hunt and gather, to solve and arrange -- to stare at black text on a white screen for days, months, years at a time. There are people who

I'm sure there's some deeply-bred psychosis that allows someone to take pleasure in that type of work, but as Owen Wilson said in "Shanghai Noon," "I don't know karate, but I know ka-razy, and I will use it."

I have always enjoyed writing, it comes as naturally and subconsciously to me as any other learned skill you've spent most of your life training ... but turning that joy and passion into something hard, something tangible, has been an incredible journey. One that's just beginning.

I have sent off one full manuscript to an agent and a partial to another, so ... (Carl Spackler voice) at least I got that going for me.

I don't want to disclose too much information about the story itself. I'm mildly-paranoid about giving away the tiniest details, less some magical gremlin manages to extrapolate the rest of the story from a hundred-word synopsis and writes it for gremself, but, dammit, that's just the kind of monster I am.

One who guards his treasure.

I will hopefully have a little more time to post on here and provide updates, but I make no promises! I've been gathering pieces for my next adventure, and I'm already itching to get back to work.