Saturday, 8 December 2007


My MS has gone back to the editor... and it's gone from my head. Over. Done with. History.
As soon as it left my hands, I paid two (only slightly overdue) bills, sorted out my phone, checked my post (tax disc due up shortly on my car) and bought a completely impractical pair of purple boots... I feel like a zombie returned to life!


I wonder if all writers have another project in mind when they finish a MS? What must Tolstoy have felt like when he put the final full stop to War and Peace if I feel so strange after finishing my little scribbles?


How do other writers cope with reaching the end of a book? Is it a cause for celebration or a sense of loss?


Of course, it's not quite done. There are still the next lot of edits to deal with, but I'm not thinking about that now... (although there is a little voice in my head asking whether I won't be disappointed if there isn't any more work to do on the MS. Can it really be finished? Is that it?)


Thank goodness I'm writing a series. Yes, I've already started rewriting the next book...

60 comments:

Sleepy said...

I'd like to think Tolstoy said,
"If I ever pick up a pen again, slap me".

Good luck with the next stage Dotcomrade!

Mima said...

"Impractical purple boots" sounds like a really good treat to reward yourself for the end of the edits. I can imagine that there is a sense of loss, but there should also be a sense of celebration for a job well done.

Leigh Russell said...

If it is well done... !!! Purple boots are much less nerve wracking. I think I'll concentrate on them for a while.

BernardL said...

Finishing an MS - Complete sense of accomplishment; but yeah, the next one is floating around in my head, or already started. Don't think of Tolstoy during your editing process. :)

Bill Clark said...

bought a completely impractical pair of purple boots

And you still have no wellies in the closet, right? What will you wear to make the next batch of mud pies?

Akasha Savage said...

I always feel a sense of loss: whether it's a short story I've finished or a longer piece; my characters all become my friends.
But, saying that, I am halfway through the second draft of my current novel, and my next book is already beginning to come to life in the back of my mind: thoughts and ideas popping into my head at unexpected moments.

Charles Gramlich said...

I usually feel a sense of loss for a day or two, followed by euphoric thoughts of free time, followed by starting another project.

Middle Ditch said...

When I started writing Grindhirst, a six episode tv series set in a boarding school, the next six episodes soon followed and then the last six. It evolved in a school year and each six episodes covered a term. I loved writing it and as akasha says the characters became my closest friends. They developed too.

It has never been accepted. For now it's lain to rest and I concentrate on Middle Ditch.

Church Lady said...

Purple boots! You go, girl. I have lots of purple in my wardrobe. ;-)

Are you allowed to talk about your edits in general terms? I am so curious about this phase of publishing a book.

liz fenwick said...

Well done.....love the purple boots - great treat.

According to other writers i know - you just move onto the next book which has been brewing in the back of your mind :-)

eric1313 said...

I only write poems and short stories right now, but I know that if I turn out a two thousand word story, and if it's good beginning to end, that sometimes feels like an accomplishment, and it sometimes leaves me only wanting to start something new.

For poems, if I write one a day, I'm happy. I try to. But sometimes I can write seven or eight a day. I love that. And you can always take a poem and write a short story from it and have both. Plenty of notes and inspiration.

But as for novels, I could never get past the fifteen thousand word bend. It feels like my characters hate me after a while.

Wayne said...

Another manuscript, abandoned. Great!

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Do we get to see you enjoying your purple pair!!! hee hee

Leigh Russell said...

BERNARDL - Tolstoy! I wonder how long it took to edit War & Peace?

BILL - my closet... let's not go there!

AKASHA - I wouldn't like some of my characters as friends but I know what you mean. They get inside your head, don't they? I've learned that I have to keep control or they can go off at weird tangents...

CHARLES - free time - it never seems to happen, does it? But that's one of the attractions of writing. I never need to feel bored again. Ever.

MIDDLE D - I think Grindhirst deserves a hearing if only for the name. It's great! Did you go to boarding school?

CHURCH LADY - edits? Let's just say my editor's ruthless slicing was absolutely spot on. I'll do better next time!

LIZ F - I'd already written books 2and 3 which both need ruthless work before I dare release them for editing... but that won't be for a while. In the meantime, yes, I'm working on another writing project...

ERIC1313 - 7 or 8 poems in a day WOW! That's creative.

WAYNE - who is abandonned, the MS or the writer?

WISDOM OF W - They're too impractical! I just look at them.

Bill Clark said...

Well, then, how about posting a pic of just the boots? Or of you admiring the boots?

P.S. My blog counter hit 10,000 today. Come and join the party!

Middle Ditch said...

I work in one and the stories that lie there untold. You could not make them up. But ... well ... maybe one day I try again. The problem is, as in al stories, stuff gets out of date and a re-write is asked for.

Do want to do that?

David John Caswell said...

Hi Leigh,
What an interesting subject for a blog. Although not a person who has time to read many books, I am looking forward to checking yours out next year.
Good luck,
David C

Wayne said...

In my mind, only the MS can be abandonned. The writer, is simply dehydrated.

Vicki said...

When I typed the end on my current manuscript I laughed and cried, both. Although I'm still in the editing process on it.

Purple boots! I love it. :D

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Leigh, what will you wear your boots with? I once had some red shoes which I thought were a fantastic idea when I bought them. I couldn't find anything to wear them with though.

Bill Clark said...

Hi, Leigh!

I've been going to carol services recently, which take me back to the good old days in - guess where? Yup. Canterbury!

The Cathedral was spooky at this time of year, with the long dark nights and not a whole lot of central heating. But the music was glorious! Afterwards I would scoot across the Memorial Garden and through the City wall and head back to Monastery Street across from St. Augie's. There Mum would have some comfort food ready for us all, such as meatloaf and baked potatoes. Talk about the best of both worlds!

What are your plans for Christmas?

Leigh Russell said...

MIDDLE DITCH - I work in a boarding school and it's true, you couldn't make up the shinannigans that go on. I'd try to write about them, but if I kept to the truth, I'd become classed as a writer of fantasy!

DAVID JOHN CASWELL - Nice to hear from you and thank you for your good wishes.

WAYNE - abandonned is such a strong word.

VICKI - the editing seems to take longer than the writing! maybe it just seems that way because it's not so much fun.

ANNE LG - almost all my clothes are purple, so that's not a problem. Red shoes with a black outfit can be cool, according to my daughter. I'm not really the right person to give fashion advice...

BILL - Memories! Christmas - seeing family and friends and writing... What else? Not enough concerts, far too much food... and not enough time for writing! I'm working on a children's book at the moment which is a fantastic holiday from adult thrillers. It's great fun (still writing, no editing yet!)

Middle Ditch said...

Maybe that's why it was never accepted!

fizzycat said...

Purple Boots , impractical all the more better, sounds like they are deserved. Will the next book involve a hotel?

Eryl Shields said...

Congratulations on getting the work done.

Usually when I finish something big that has been difficult I expect to feel euphoric but actually feel flat. Purple boots would probably help!

Vwriter said...

Hello Leigh!

You have the most interesting blog! I don't read a great deal on the web (usually I only stop by to keep Stewart- House of Sternberg fame- alert), but it was such a pleasure to read through your postings. The experience is very much like listening to a good friend chat about a subject dear to the heart.

But to the point, I wonder if when an author is planning ahead for the next book or even several books, they are "stealing" from the work that they are currently involved with. Having a new manuscript in mind-just an idea, mind you- makes sense and is perhaps unavoidable for an active mind. But good stories deserve total immersion on the writer's part, don't you think?

I have several writing friends who work on multiple projects simultaneously. It reminds me very much of confessing undying love to someone while catting about with several others.

Of course, I am currently working on seven short stories and four novels, but we're just dating.

And, I'm so impressed with the way that you blog, that I have to ask you how I would go about getting autographed copies of your works.

Seriously.

Leigh Russell said...

Hi FIZZY - there may be a kind of hotel of ill repute coming up in a future book. Not the sort of place you'd work. Enough said.

ERYL - the editing goes on... I'm beginning to think I'll be glad to be shot of the thing. Is that a terrible thing to say about my writing? It's just feeling less like fun and more like hard work. In the meantime, I'm having fun with the next one!

VWRITER - I guess I've been playing the field... What you said is very interesting. I did go off the rails with the first draft of my first book by packing in too many plots. Some serious two timing - even a bit of a threesome? Fortunately my editor was ruthless and with luck the book will even make sense now. I wish I'd realised how to construct a book before I started. Hopefully my subsequent books will be better - but by then I might have put everyone off!
Thanks for asking about signed copies. I'm sure that can be arranged for you. Let's sort it out when the book (eventually) hits the shelves.

Vwriter said...

Reading your blog the other day got me looking around a bit for writing blogs, and this even went so far as encourage me to publish another posting on my own blog. So thank you.

Also, I have another question for you- after you've finished a manuscript and it's published, do you feel as though you'll start wondering how you could have written it differently? Changed the plot? Added a character here, changed a character there? Perhaps even replaced a character entirely?

Can you read your own work 3 months after it's done? A year? Longer? What I mean is how long does it take you to get distant enough from your own creation to change from writer to reader? To not look at it critically? Do you ever immerse yourself in reading your own fiction and forget that you wrote it? I suppose I'm asking if you really like reading what you've written so much that you read it as though it were written by someone else.

Lots more than just one question!

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Hi Leigh, just stopping by to tell you that if you've got the time,(to watch tv) I'm on 'Casualty' either on Saturday or Sunday of next week.
Merry Christmas

Anne

Sleepy said...

Merry Christmas!

DMM said...

Congrats on the finish of the MS!!

Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR!!

ANNA-LYS said...

Hi Leigh,
I recognize the feeling of loose, a kind of separation angst ... strange feeling but in a sense You share Your life with the "project".

Thank You very much for Your Christmas greeting!!!! (happy face)

As we say in Swenglish *giggle*

Good Yule

(I put You up on my dar-links, hope that is OK)

Mima said...

Happy Christmas Leigh, hope that you have a fantastic one and enjoy every moment.

Alis said...

HI Leigh - Happy Christmas! Thanks for all your postings on my blog and a Happy New Year to you - the year Cut Short comes out!!

Kara Dunn said...

Leigh, I just stopped by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year.

Bill Clark said...

Hi, Leigh!

Thanks for your Christmas and New Year's greeting, hereby heartily reciprocated!

I wish I could be in England for Christmas! Carols from King's, and all that. Hoist a glass of Yuletide cheer for your Transatlantic cousin!

And mega-congratulations in advance for the banner year 2008, in which Cut Short will make its debut in the literary firmament, shining like the Christmas Star itself in all its splendo[u]r!! I can't wait!!

fizzycat said...

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

flyinamber said...

Thank you,Leigh!
And I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and all the best in 2008!

FANCY said...

Hope you will have a Sweet and good Christmas...:-)

Eryl Shields said...

Crimbo wishes, have a jolly fab one, Eryl X

The World According to Me said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

I can't wait to read your book next year!

Middle Ditch said...

And you too Leigh.

Bill Clark said...

...the hooly blisful martyr for to seke...

Happy St. Thomas of Canterbury day!

Church Lady said...

I hope it's not too late to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
:-)

Leigh Russell said...

Thanks BILL. Same to you.
Never too late for kind wishes, CHURCH LADY. Always appreciated.
Nearly 2008... who's making resolutions? (whose aren't the same as last year's?)

iwillgetthere said...

Thanks for your kind words. I am so glad to be feeling stronger and able to deal with things again. I am impressed with your progress, it is such an achievement to write a book. I have 'played' with writing off and on and have never got further than a couple of chapters. As for the boots, they are the only way to treat yourself I find - I indulged in a couple (!) of pairs myself the other day.

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Happy New Year!!!!

Bill Clark said...

who's making resolutions? (whose aren't the same as last year's?)

At a guess, probably all of us are making resolutions. And at another guess, most of our lists probably look a lot like those of previous years. :-)

Do you have a special custom in England for New Year's Eve? E.g., hear Big Ben bong out the midnight chimes? Here, as you no doubt know, everyone watches the ball drop in Times Square, either in person or on telly. Well, almost everyone...some of us are too busy watching the inside of our eyelids to pay attention to the ball.

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Travis Erwin said...

Happy New Years. Hope you haven't been blogging because the new book is going so well.

Alis said...

Happy New Year, Leigh. Hope your current project is going well and that Cut Short's launch and early life on the shelves go swimmingly!

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

Have a great 2008 Leigh, and may many more books follow.

Monique said...

Leigh, I have created a new blog. Come and have a look!

Middle Ditch said...

Leigh, thanks for your vote! Grindhirst is in the lead!

Monique said...

Grindhirst won!

Lily Moon said...

Hi LeighHope Christmas and New Year went well with you, I'm guessing you're taking a well-deserved break also? I'm finding it difficult to get back into the work of writis soon ang again, I'd like to think as Tolstoy finished, he picked up his pen and started again...

rosa said...

hiya!Its me again, Rosa:) Hope you are well. Whats the name of your new book? Is it another mystery? Alos, good luck with the birth!:)Wishing you all the best!Happy New Year!!

Caroline Deacon said...

Hi Leigh - personally I already had the next few characters in my brain waiting to come out, tapping their feet impatiently, so it was good to be able to move on, but it did not ever feel as if I had really finished - I think that only happens when the book arrives in your grubby hands, in print. Up until then there are edits etc - next thing you will have is the proofs to check. But even when the book arrives, you then have the publicity to do so, in some ways it never ends...
Caroline

DMM said...

I haven't been here for sometime, but you must be so excited to have your MS finished. I'm keeping my eye out for this book. Looks like a great lazy day read!!

Bill Clark said...

Hi, Leigh, it's already March and you haven't posted or commented since St. Thomas of Canterbury Day. Are you all right? Have you cut the cord with your old blog? Is there any way to continue to stay in touch?

*Bill rolls up his message, puts it into a bottle, and tosses it onto the waters of the blogosphere*

Bill Clark said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I am so relieved to know you are still alive!

Here is my response to your comment:

OMG, Leigh, this is just too spooky for words!!

I have just spent the last hour or so trying to figure out how to get in touch with you, and lo! a comment appears. Can minds meld across the Atlantic Ocean? Apparently so.

Please send me your email address in a follow-up comment - since I moderate comments, it will NOT appear here for all and sundry to read.

Wait till you hear the story of what I've been up to this past hour - you will be as astounded as I am. I wasn't quite ready to ring up Scotland Yard, but damn near close. You will get a huge laugh when you see the email I was only seconds away from sending...!

March 06, 2008 3:08 PM


Look forward to chatting off-line if you will be kind enough to send me your email addy.

P.S. No "droughte of Merch" here -rain on the way. :-(