The Art of Finishing

I finished a story. A large one. About 200,000 words. Not reading, you understand, writing. And it’s done – ish. As done as anything can get in this life of drafts and alternate universes and fanfiction and recursive fanfiction. Still, it qualifies as an epic in my mind, clocking in at a multiple of one-hundred-thousand words. And I finished it. Entirely. This morning.

It’s notable, perhaps, that this is not the epic story I was meant to be writing. Or the epic story I ran away to, when I couldn’t bear to figure out in a deep way what went wrong with the first story. This is the third layer of ‘oops, Sare wrote another book.’ Fascinatingly, I wrote 200,000 words in three months – more than that, really, as I edited and cut and rewrote more extensively than I usually do for a rough draft. At this point, really, I’m on draft three for this particular story.

I’ll grant you, it’s fanfiction, but by the time I decide that maybe I want to publish some version of it, I’ll either take it out of the universe it’s in and make it totally original, or… perhaps I’ll be able to negotiate actually using those characters in that sandbox. Who knows? I’d hate to limit myself.

In the meantime I’m releasing it more quickly on my Patreon account in the First Access tier, and more slowly for everyone over on Archive of Our Own. And meanwhile, my husband and I are reading it out in quiet moments and when all is that is through, I will put it to bed for awhile which feels… so very strange.

Because I’ve never actually finished one of the epic stories of my mind before. And let me be clear: I’ve been telling myself stories since I can remember. Finish sermons? Weekly, like clockwork. Little short stories? Sure, if I can manage to keep them short I can finish them. The odd one off? Probably. But to actually do something approximating Tolkien-level world building and then wrap it all up, tie a bow on it and just hand it over to the world?

It’s a brave new world, friends.

And as I’m looking at this blogpost the next day, it’s 5 AM. It’s time to get my early-morning mental health writing in and I realize there is grief. I don’t want to so quickly shift gears from this beautifully finished epic back to the next one in line that needs work. I want to dwell here a little longer, hang out with these beautiful characters in my head and maybe have some sort of celebratory cast party, some kind of wrap party. They deserve it, and perhaps I do as well.

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