So saith a character to themselves in one of Heinlein's stories, as the capper to a fortnight of all-nighters. I don't drink much at all (a beer with a meal for someone's birthday is about as far as I go into a bottle of any size), but with Unmortal's first draft more or less finished, I think some wind-down is in order. And a celebration.
I say more or less because everything that remains at this point is material I would need to put together in the next-draft process anyway. There's some missing bits along the way that I didn't so much skip as realized after the fact I would need, and it makes more sense to formally begin draft 2 before trying to insert that material. So, we're about as done with draft 1 as such things get.
A lot of work still remains on this book, but I gotta say, I'm already dead chuffed (as my friends on the other side of the Atlantic put it) at the way it's turned out even in this early instance. There's a great premise here, a cracking gallery of characters, and a whole slew of deeper meanings and larger ambitions to underpin and overlay the adventure. Yes, many individual things need tightening and polishing, but they always do. The bones, as they say, are there, and they are quite fine.
What makes me most satisfied with a story is when I feel like everything I wanted to do with it, in the time and space I allotted myself for it, has been happily exhausted. There could, I guess, be sequels to many of the things I've written, but the story as I told it to myself, as I framed it for myself, for the sake of writing the book -- that story is done, with nothing more to add. I always felt that was the right approach: Find a subject, find a way to explore it exhaustively in the space you've allotted yourself, and then go out with a bang.
I don't plan to take too much time off, lest I lose the momentum. Or, worse, get hot in the biscuit for another project and embark on that one before Unmortal is put to bed proper. That said, I'll tempt fate a little bit by using the interstitial downtime to try and collect thoughts on all the other projects I have cooking. Some are closer to actualization than others; some feel more like they need to be told sooner because they've been dream-deferred for too long. One nice thing about this klatsch of projects is their diversity: they're all over the subject and flavor map. Some are more fantastic, some lean towards semi-hard SF, some are outright surreal. Something for everyone. I just hope one of those someones turns out to be me.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind