After eight years, more than eight drafts, thousands of hours of my life, and three computers later, I have finally finished the manuscript for Evermore: Call of the Nocturne. My god, that took far longer than I ever expected it to. When I started back in 2004 (and this is not considering pre-production planning), I thought that it might take me three or four years. When I finished the first draft by 2007 or 2008, I thought I was nearly done. When I started this blog in 2010, my goal was to publish it that year. Obviously, that was not to be.
That said, the time was not wasted. During that four-year period, I had two professional edits done on my text. A developmental edit by Erin Stropes and a line edit by Amelia Bennett. The suggestions made by those two led to immense improvements in the manuscript. I owe them both a debt of gratitude for their contributions. E:COTN is a much better novel now then it was before their help. Still, it was four years!
Having reached the end of the road, I admit that my feelings are a little bittersweet. On one hand, I feel relief for having finally completed it. One the other hand, I feel a little bit lost. Completing this novel has been one of the driving forces of my life and now that it’s over, I feel like I’ve lost a little bit of the purpose of my life. I have been thinking about this novel constantly for the last eight years, thinking up new plot elements, developing characters, and filling holes and inconsistencies. Now that’s it’s done, I no longer have to obsess about it. I’m also somewhat overwhelmed but the length of time I’ve been working on it. I’ve been working on E:COTN for about a quarter of my life. With its completion, a significant chapter of my life has closed. It will be a time in my life that I will always miss.
In an ironic twist, I started to watch Martin Scorcese’s The Aviator to relax after completing the novel. At the beginning, the protagonist Howard Hughes four years and almost every cent who had on a movie called “Hell’s Angels”. His level of obsession with the project was absurd. He bought or loaned every plan he could find, used no fewer than 26 cameras, and then reshot the film twice: once because he wanted to get clouds into the shots and a second time because he wanted to add sound! It was insane and yet, while I watched, I understood completely. When you commit so much of your life to a project, it can be really difficult to let go. You want to make it perfect, but perfect is impossible. At some point you have to let it go, warts and all.
Howard Hughes couldn’t let it go and I’ve difficulty letting go of Evermore. As I came closer and closer to the end, I became more reluctant to finish. I was always finding something that needed to be improved or worked on. But at some point, I came to the conclusion that the novel was about as good as I could ever make. It was time to let it go. I had fixed all the plot holes I could find, I addressed every concern raised by my editors, it was done.
There’s still more work to do, of course. I still have to get the cover art drawn and arranged, I have to register the copyright and buy an ISBN. I’ll need to prepare the epub file, test it and upload it to iBookstore and the Kindle store. I’ll probably give the manuscript one more read to be sure but the bulk of the work is done.
I’ll also have more time to write on my blog. I’ve been so busy trying to finish E:COTN that I’ve neglected my blog at a very exciting time for self-publishing. We have new services arising, more direct access to iBookstore and an exciting new tool called iBooks Author that I’m dying to play with. I’ll keep all of you posted on all of these developments and keep you appraised of E:COTN’s release date as we approach.
Thank you again for your patience. I hope that when it is finally published, you will enjoy reading Evermore: Call of the Nocturne as I did writing it.