Monday, 17 September 2007

Project Jaguar - Winding Up A First Draft

A few items I keep on my desk to inspire me: a little statue of La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, patron saint of Cuba, some Cuban moneda nacional (local money; I'm not supposed to have it) and on the right, thirty crisp Cuban Convertible Pesos (tourist money; I'm not supposed to take it out of the country) - my cab fare from Jose Marti airport to Old Havana, for next time I go, to save queuing at the money exchange.

I'm about 8,000 words away from finishing the first draft of Project Jaguar. And I don't revise much until The Editor has a say, so for me a first draft - with a polish - is what I submit.

Which means that I am close to handing over to my agent a project that I've been working on, on-and-off, for a little over a year. It's the longest I've taken so far to complete a first draft. And all those feelings I get at this stage are kicking in.
Firstly there's the desire to finish and have done. That can get overshadowed with a premonition of loss. It's fun to inhabit an imaginary world. The author gets to experience that more intensely than any reader and for longer. When the first draft is finished, the world ceases to be your own. Other people get a say. That's exciting too, sharing it. It's different though.

But then again, the desire to finish, already!

Oh and then there's the post-ms finishing elation ("It's the best thing I've ever written"), shortly followed by the depression; "Hang on...actually it's not, is it? Or is it? I can't tell. Help!"

From here until the end I resent every interruption. I'd happily shut myself up now in my bedroom until it's done. That can't happen, of course. Life continues to make its demands. I have to take my daughter swimming in about a hour. And I should probably have something for lunch other than M&S Extremely Chocolatey Caramels.

This manuscript is unsold, btw. Very exciting. Will there be any takers? It's like last year all over again.

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