word craft


Finishing a book

lawnmowerHow does it feel to fin­ish a book after work­ing on it for months, if not years, every day, and for most work­ing hours? As the writer Har­ry Eyres has sug­gest­ed, it is a “tri­umphant moment of loss.” Famous­ly, Vir­ginia Woolf suf­fered acute depres­sions when she fin­ished her nov­els. Not so uncom­mon among writ­ers. It’s not that bad for me, I’m glad to say. But—as a writer—your life has been struc­tured on your dai­ly involve­ment with plot, char­ac­ters, etc., etc.,—and then it all goes. Those peo­ple, and their dilem­mas, that you have invent­ed were  your dai­ly com­pan­ions. You’ wor­ried and fret­ted about them.  Won­dered what they were doing. Say­ing. Then—they go away. They become your read­ers’ friend. (In fact your read­ers tell you things about your char­ac­ters that you nev­er knew!) Melan­choly moment, indeed. Noth­ing else to do but—start some­thing new. Or mow the lawn.

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