So, novel number four is in the bag. First draft at least. I say novel, but it’s in that slightly strange territory of being too long for a novella, and much shorter than a standard length novel. Came in at 55,000 words, so I would expect to lose at least five thousand of those once the whole thing is done. We shall see.
I had a similar feeling when writing the conclusion that I did for the denouement of Gaslight. My work ethic for this novel has been atrocious – 500 words a day, if that. I always tend to speed up once I near the finishing line as I start to see how it’s going to pan out. I think this happens for two reasons. One, I’m genuinely excited to see what’s going to take place. And two, I just want to get it done so I can have a rest!
These reasons are perfectly understandable, but I’m not sure they encourage good writing. It took me 8 months to write the first 50,000 words of this novel. 2 days to write the rest. For Gaslight I wrote 4,500 words in one frenzied afternoon to get to completion. And my nagging feeling is that both endings feel a little rushed. I’m going back to do a final edit for Gaslight next, after a much needed break, and I know that the last 10,000 words or so will need the most revision. I’m certain this novel will be the same. The balance between getting it done and doing it well is one I’m not sure I’ve mastered. I find the emotion of the moment makes it difficult to focus.
Still, I feel the same mixture of pride and relief that it’s done, and the usual privilege that the characters let me into their lives for the duration. I think this novel has a nice, primal quality to it, and I’ve written in a style I’ve always wanted to – part road movie, part chase, part Bonnie and Clyde style romance. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun. It’s called State Line, and I’m glad I crossed it.