I love to write. But as someone once said, I love having written even more. A reader once asked me how I knew the book was done. As any author will tell you, a book is never done, even when the publisher has pulled it from your protesting hands and sent it into copyedit whether you’re ready or not. Even when it’s on the shelves, you can open it to any page, smack your forehead, and go, “Rats! I meant to change that!”
But what about the first draft? When I get to The End, how do I know that it’s really The End?
Because the voices in my head go silent.
There are people talking in my head all the time. It’s like a movie in the next room that never gets turned off, and I can hear snatches of dialogue, bits of music, fights, explosions—all happening while I go about my day. In the shower or when I’m doing dishes, the movie comes out of the next room and begins to play right in front of me. The shower wall will disappear, and there is Claire, dashing up the gangway of an airship, a gang of miscreants on her heels. Once I was driving to work and completely missed my freeway exit because the pivotal scene of a book began to play and I lost sight of the freeway altogether for what seemed like several minutes—though it couldn’t have been, or I probably wouldn’t be here writing this right now. It was, however, long enough for me to miss the exit and make me late for work.
But at the end of the book—yesterday, in this instance, when I finished Brilliant Devices—the voices stop. They have no more to say—I have put as much of what they’ve told me on the page as I can—and the book is over.
I cry at happy endings. The and End are two happy words, because I’ve done justice to my characters to the best of my ability, and happiness at being able to tell their story is laced with relief that it’s finished. The only thing left to do is keep an ear out … because when the next book has cooked for long enough, I’ll start to hear the voices again.
I have some polishing to do, and an edit like a dose of salts, but Brilliant Devices will be available for your e-reader on February 28, with print coming in a week or two afterward!