Anticipating Typing “the end”

by Julie, enjoying the spring in Somerville

I am working on book #5, tentatively titled The Plot Thickets, which is due on May 1. Don’t bother to remember the title for next year, when it is released. There is a strong chance my editor will want to change it. But I digress.

This month, we’ve been talking about anticipation. As I anticipate typing “the end” and hitting submit on this manuscript, I will confess that I have a lot of conflicting emotions.

At this point, I’m sick of reading and rereading the book. There, I said it. Editing requires adding details and polishing. It also requires making sure that the book makes sense. Is the timeline accurate? Are all the right characters in every scene? Did changing a clue in chapter five completely screw up chapter twelve? Answer, of course it did.

Every time I go through it again, I find more to finesse. I do think part of this is due to the fact that I’m a better writer now, on what will be my tenth published novel, than I was at the beginning of this journey, and so I spend more time on the editing process. I purposely give myself a lot of time for this part of the work. As I mentioned, it’s easy to get sick of my book at this point. I vacillate between being amused and being convinced it’s terrible. By April 30 it will be in good shape, of that I have confidence.

But I also dread finishing the book. I enjoy spending time with Lilly Jayne, Delia, Ernie, Roddy, Tamara, Warwick and the rest of the citizens of Goosebush. When I’m writing, I transport myself there, to this place that only exists in my imagination. I can feel the warmth of Lilly’s greenhouse, taste the brioche Ernie baked, hear Roddy’s deep voice as he and Delia discuss clues, and see the wonders of Alden Park as it is being transformed. The plots are complicated, and require introducing new people and situations, some of whom continue from book to book. Though I know that I am the writer of Lilly’s adventures, there is magic in their creation. I’ll miss the magic when I type “the end”. Until the next book, that is.

But before I type those six letters, I have a few more things I need to do. Gardening friends, do you have any spring tips that I can include in the book? I’ll be sure to thank you in the acknowledgments. I always leave this to the last minute, and could use your help.

Click on the picture below to send them to me, or leave a tip in the comments below.

Dear readers, do you have anything you anticipate with both pleasure and dread?

27 Thoughts

  1. I know that feeling of not wanting to say goodbye to characters, Julie! I’m anticipating finishing a first draft before May 1, which means a lot of writing between now and then.

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  2. Think the biggest thing I faces with glee and horror was when we decided to move. So excited and thrilled on moving to our dream destination, but filled with horror as the prospect of having to go through not only our stuff but stuff from parents and grandparents after 30+ years of being in the same space with lots of extra rooms and sheds, packing up and then the physical move itself. In the end, it all worked out, I didn’t crumble physically from all the work and we were able to get rid of a LOT of STUFF. Best thing we ever did!

    It’s sad to know you are going to be reading the last book in a series and leave old friends behind, but also fun to know that new friends in new series are in the future.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  3. Congratulations on nearing the end! I’m anticipating the release. Endings, beginnings, it’s all part of the universal continuum. No gardening tips here, alas.

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  4. Best wishes as you finish your fine tuning, Julie! I’m a fan of the author Terry Pratchett. Recently, I decided to read his final book, something I had been avoiding. It was bittersweet, knowing he passed away before the book was completely finished. It was still a joy to read it, though.

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  5. Something new I’m trying this year, I’m putting used tea leaves at the roots of a bush that is slightly yellow. It’s supposed to be good for the soil. We shall see.

    Congrats on the book! I know that feeling of “I want to be done,” but I know there is more work to be done before it’s ready to be released into the world.

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  6. The thing about “The End” in writing is there are so many of them.–the end of the first draft, the second, etc, the submission, edits, copyedits, launch. I never feel like I have reached “the end.”

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  7. At the risk of sounding like a cheerleader…I am so very grateful that you all write and edit and write and edit…. So, my best to you and your endeavors, may the words flow from your fingers like a rapidly running river. 😉

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  8. Pleasure and dread?? Hmm, maybe dental cleanings lol – I love the feeling of fresh, clean, healthy teeth but always dread they’ll find a problem. Only spring gardening tip I have is not to plant bulbs until there is no danger of frost. We’re supposed to get some snow here in Maine this weekend, so no planting for a minute (or two) yet!

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  9. It’s important to get the timeline right! Please!!!! 🙂

    I have a love/hate relationship with approaching the end of the latest in a series I love. I want to know how it ends, but I have having to wait a year to find out what happens next.

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    1. As a reader, I sometimes stack up books in a series so that I can splurge. I also love discovering a series that has several out.

      I’m currently listening to the Amelia Peabody series, and am on the last two. I’m grateful that there were so many, but wish there were more to look forward to.

      PS, you should see how many ways I track the timeline, and hear me roar when I find an issue.

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  10. Julie, does it astonish you that you’ve now written ten books? I remember your first, and that does not seem very long ago. Best wishes on getting to the finish line. You are a boss!

    Some garden tips I got from a great workshop at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens last year before isolation:

    You can divide perennials any time you can see growth on the plant. So, if leaves have broken ground, go for it. If there are flowers in bloom, go for it. If the flowers are spent, also a good time. And dividing plants is a great way to refresh both the plant and your garden. It is a free way to add color and form to your garden. Be sure to divide on the back side of existing plants so they look better while they refurbish, and always remember the Rule of Three: three plants are the minimum you should plant, or any uneven number. It just pleases the eye more. I usually buy three plants, and later divide them and replant if I want more. It means playing a long game, but it’s worth it.

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  11. Congrats, Julie, on the completion of another in a great series. I look forward to reading it.

    Sometimes when reading a long book, or doing a large jigsaw puzzle, I start to feel dragged down by it, but as I get closer to the end, I don’t want it to be over.

    As I’ve gotten older and don’t move quite so fast, I’ve learned to not do so much in one day and spread the yard work out over a bit of time. It still all gets done and I spread the enjoyment out. And my body doesn’t hate me the next day.

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