At about 9:30, I wrote the last sentence of The Marquis' Daughter.
In other words, The End!
I am so grateful for the Lord's help as I made the effort to finish MD by the New Year. In looking back at old Facebook statuses, I realized that my goal to finish by January began in March, and the Lord helped me reach this goal! In the last two weeks I ran into so many roadblocks, trying to get my characters through a very high-stake mission and to tie up loose ends, but each time I hit a roadblock, I prayed, talked with my sisters and some friends, and I got past the blocks. ;-)
This last week was pretty rigorous.
On Tuesday I had a "writeathon" with a literary friend of mine, Debbie. We started writing from I believe 7:30 to 8:30 and counted up our wordcount, and then picked up again at 9:00 and wrote until 10:00. Then I took a break and tried to go to bed, but my mind was still moving (thankfully!) and I ended up writing until 1:00. My total wordcount for that day (day as in, period of awakeness ;-) ) was 2,438 words.
On Wednesday, I wrote a mere 810 words... that was a roadblock night. But the encouragement of my sisters and some friends kept me going.
On Thursday, I wrote 2,326 words... just half a chapter and an epilogue to go.
On Friday (last night), I started writing in the middle of the afternoon (I usually write just in the evening), I wrote a total of 3,390 words and finished the novel at about 9:30! Thank You, Lord!!
What a wonderful adventure this has been! I really am not sure what to do with myself, now that the book is done. Writing is a main part of my evening routine. ;-) Well, I suppose I will have more time to read and study now, and I'll need to go back and edit too. My plan is to read through the book in as few sittings as possible, fill in the places that need help, read back through it out loud (at least the conversations), edit for style and grammar, send it to some writing friends to proofread, and then hopefully find a publisher. ;-)
It's been fun looking back at the writing process of this last year. I started rearranging the whole book sometime in March or April, breaking away from the format it had gone by for so many years (I wrote the earliest edition of this book when I was seven or eight!) and combining the first two books into one. I also did some major character reconstruction on the characters of Isaac Barnum, Esther Moore, Lord Colonsay, and even Sophia and Mark. New characters popped up out of nowhere: Edmund (hearts!! ;-) ), Lady Elizabeth, Jemima, Mark's brothers, Liz, and the evil Wym (who may actually end up being a principle bad guy in the later books...strangely, because he totally popped up AS I WROTE.... I never sat down and thought him up :-P ). The themes of redemption, salvation, and friendship worked their way into the storyline, and Isaac's backstory took me by surprise and gave his character a new, fuller dimension.
In July, I set a goal of writing 500 words every day except Sunday, and except for exceptionable busy days (and sometimes weeks-- late November, early December), I kept pretty much to that goal. From July to November, I would mark down my daily wordcount on a calendar and when the month was over, I'd tape the calendar sheet to the wall. July reads my total wordcount as 18,989. August: 10,342. September: 19,550. October: 15,132. I didn't add up November's because by the end of the month I was so busy with sewing orders that I had almost no time to write, and I didn't get around to printing out a calendar page for December. :-S
Another habit I began was that of listening to soundtrack music while I write sometime in August. Soundtracks really help to set the mood when I write. James Horner's especially. ;-) Perhaps I will compile a music list of some of the different "themes" I used.
Besides those things, I also learned so much about writing. Books such as The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman and The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, and blogs such as Wordplay have totally revolutionized by way of looking at writing, characterization, and style. "Show, don't tell" is not as terrible of a rule as I once thought, and thanks to those sources for teaching me that. :-)
I am so grateful for the Lord's help this year as I've written. Not only as He helped me as I wrote challenging scenes (particularly conversations) and developed characters and storyline that glorify Him, but He has also taught me a lot in my walk with Him. As several people have pointed out flaws in my writing, God has taught me humility. I don't know everything and there are much better writers than me who have a wealth of information for me to learn and apply, and the Lord is teaching me to accept these facts graciously and learn from my mistakes and others' corrections. He has also emphasized to me time and time again the importance of committing my work to Him. When I sit down to write, I ask His help and guidance for the scene at hand and pray that He will use my book to bring honor to His name. I hope this will be so.
Facebook has a neat little application in which you can "sum up" your year in Facebook statuses. I wrote frequently about my writing on Facebook so I put together a collage of writing-related statuses since I joined the book of face in March. I copied it to share with you. :-)
What's up next?
Editing. Good ol' editing. :-)
Happy New Year, by the way. ;-)