It’s finished! My novel is officially done. All right, I understand a novel is never finished until it’s bound in hardcover and shipped to B&N (or wherever you buy books), but as far as I’m concerned this is finite.
Actually, I’m being a bit facetious. There are two parts I’m considering adding, but not only have I not thought them through enough, the book stands fine without them. And I’m already reconsidering how many times my characters have pounding hearts and sweaty hands. Might need to re-assess some of the emotional signs I’ve put in there. But I may never be satisfied with my work. That’s just me. It’s ready to query, and that’s what’s important at the moment.
Finishing a novel, feeling that thrill of accomplishment, that pride and joy at bringing alive a story that exists only in your head, is an exhilarating moment. The only thing I’ve experienced that’s more moving is the birth of a child. That’s a tear-in-the-eye-lump-in-the-throat-laughing-and-crying-at-the-same-time moment. A novel’s birth is a little more subtle, muted.
It’s a solitary endeavor that few people can understand. You’ve worked. You’ve sacrificed. And it’s been alone. Yes, the support of your family has been a constant, and everyone asks how the novel’s coming, but it’s still mine and mine alone. No matter how many beta comments I’ve taken, discussions I’ve had with friends about how to get an agent or advice from Hubby on how I should resolve an issue, the final product still rests on my shoulders. Every decision that was made, was made by me alone.
And it’s scary. Terrifying. When I query that agent, they aren’t going to know how many beta readers have contributed to ironing out the plot, how many times Hubby has read and found typos, how many friends have read (or maybe never finished 🙂 ) the novel and given their feedback. It’s all on me. Their comments, if I’m lucky enough to receive them, will instruct me how to write better. Their rejections will tell me that it isn’t for them.
But their requests for fulls are mine too. Should I ever be published (I will be published! I will be published!) all my contributors will get a nod in the acknowledgments section, but it’s still my name on the cover. And that, my friends, is the final reward: a name in bold letters that most readers ignore and a chance to share that story that lived and breathed inside you with the world. That chance is all I ask for.