The home straight

I am on the home straight now. I’ve done Climax 1. I just have Climax 2 and the denouement to go and then – happy days – Breathing Fire will exist. It’ll be in the form of a completed draft and, though there’ll be so many edits to go and the whole beta-reading corrections and many more shenanigans between here and publication, I’ll have a fully-formed story in my metaphorical hands.

This is, of course, something to celebrate. And, indeed, I’m holding hard to that image. But I’m not there yet.

Maybe ‘home straight’ is the wrong image. I’m on the home section of switchbacks; the final labyrinth of a whole series of deadly mazes.

I am the furthest I’ve been from my starting point and so my original outlining was vaguest here. I roughly know what I want to achieve – a hunt, a chase, a final face-off before bittersweet victory – but I’ve got many streets still to navigate. I need to assemble, array and vanquish my forces. I need to block out every step, to storyboard (would that I could) the stages before the final curtain.

So I am nearly finished, in terms of wordcount, of stages left of this bedarned novel. But there is so much more left to do in terms of actual work. I will spend disproportionate amounts of time staring blankly at the manuscript, or at Twitter, or other forms of procrastination. I will, I know, operate in single sentences, or odd paragraphs, without getting anywhere near into a flow.

This is how it works. Or how I work, I should say, for I can only speak for myself. The more the pieces need assembling, the slower the process. And this is no bad thing.

What is a bad thing – from the point of view of finishing Breathing Fire – is that I am still enmeshed in all the other things that need doing as a priority. I have an edit to do. I have a day-job. I have a baby. That whole ‘real life’ thing continues to roll over me.

And then there is the whole new writing job that I’ve signed up to. No longer merely hanging over my head at some vague point in the future, that is about to kick in. I shall have to produce copy – quality words – to a deadline, and I shall have to do it week in, week out, for a year or thereabouts.

That isn’t to say that it’s all stop in my individual creative endeavours, but there has to be a working-in period, a period of stress and anxiety that I can’t look past right now.

Plus I’ll still be working on my editing, plus day-job, plus baby, plus all that ‘real-life’ stuff.

So forgive me if I’m not celebrating just yet. I have so much to do, a whole 3D maze of labyrinths to navigate. As I said before, I’ll be doing well if I can get this 1st draft done this side of Christmas.

I want to get it done, though. I will get it done. Because Breathing Fire is still a thrill to me. It could be the best thing I’ve written – it might not, of course, and of course the whole ‘re-drafting’ thing, but still. I want to get on with that process.

It’s been such a long time since I started, I can’t even remember half the story.

Fun days lie ahead. And that’s only half sarcastic.