finishing a novel: unfold has finally unfolded

Unfold is finished.

I have to say, when I wrote FOLD last year I never expected to write a sequel. And it feels like I’ve been working on this book forever, probably because the world isn’t new to me. But it hasn’t really been long at all – I started putting words down in May, and it’s not quite September now. Four months for a novel ain’t bad.

I’m shot through with that sweet, incredible feeling of finishing a book – an excited trembling just this side of jitters. If the feeling of starting a book is like the optimistic anticipation before a first date, finishing a book is like the giddy, floating and slightly electric feeling you get after a first kiss with someone you really, really like.

I’ve already sent the manuscript to four of my most trusted readers, and I’m so excited to hear back from them, even though I’m sure they’ll have plenty to say. The first draft of a book is always kind of an ugly, squirmy thing. Still a lot of shaping to be done – though I will say I’m one of those writers who sort of edits as I go, so the editing I need to do tends to be more detail work and tinkering, and less overhaul and renovation.

It used to make me feel guilty, because aren’t writers supposed to completely tear their work apart after a first draft? But it turns out I’m in good company. Zadie Smith, whose work I admire very much, describes two types of writers: the Macro Planner, who plans out every single thing before setting words on the page, knows exactly what will happen, and can jump here and there in the writing, starting in the middle and ending with the start, and the Micro Manager. Despite the negative connotation, that’s the sort of writer I am.

I start at the beginning and finish at the end, and I have only a general idea what the ending will be until I get there, and even then I’m sometimes surprised at the last minute.

Unfold didn’t surprise me – I knew where it was going, where it had to go, though the exact shape of the ending was revealed to me as I wrote it. I hope I was able to stay true to the understated feeling I was able to maintain in Fold, despite the longer form. I’m satisfied with the ending, and I’m hoping my readers will be too.

Once this is suitable for general consumption it’ll go up on Amazon as an ebook, just like Fold went up last year. I guess I should design and create the cover now! It’ll make a nice break before I go back in and do my own edits. Definitely planning to do the same style/medium cover as last time, for consistency’s sake – though I can’t do a damn thing until my hands stop shaking. (I wasn’t kidding about those post-novel jitters.)

I’m really looking forward to sharing this one!

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