Twenty Eighth


“My goal is to finish by the end of June” I tell people when talking about my progress on the manuscript for my novel, but what I really mean is “My goal is to finish by June twenty eighth.” Why the twenty eighth? Because that is my main character’s birthday and I may or may not be sentimental about it.

So far, I’m still on track. Five chapters to write, five weeks to write them in. I can manage one chapter per week. Maybe if I’m feeling frisky I’ll even finish the actual writing part early enough to have time to run a spell check too. Like a pro.

Things I never thought I’d get excited about as a kid…

It was strange for me to realize that just one month from now I might be crossing the threshold from I’m writing a novel to I have written a novel. A small but meaningful distinction: many people write novels, but not many people actually finish them, and no matter how dedicated I am to doing the actual work of writing I don’t feel like I can claim to be a novelist or an author until I actually finish the story. And it might be as soon as a month away.

Sometimes, when the demon voices of depression are having their way with me, I’ll escape into fantasies about the finished draft printed out onto real paper. I try to imagine the shape and the weight of it: a physical object existing in the material world. I like to imagine how thick the stack of pages will be, what kind of sound it will make to thunk down in front of someone, how it will feel to flip the pages, watching the words flicker past. Maybe I’ll even get it spiral bound into an actual booklet if I’m feeling fancy. And of course I imagine begging my friends to beta read it for me, joking-without-joking that it will be like the scene in “Sideways” in which the Paul Giamatti character shares the manuscript for his novel with a lady friend by handing her not one but two giant Kinkos boxes of pages.

That’s going to be me.

Wanna read my novel?

Sure!

*Hands over a stackof pages the size of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.*

It might need some editing.

But I guess that’s all part of the process, and it’s not something I plan to worry about until after I get the whole story out. Which I have one month left to do. May the Muses be ever in my favor.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 28, 2019.

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