THE END. As in, this draft is done, finished, complete. For now. Soon I will print it out and, after I think I've created a bit of distance between me and it, we will get together again and I'll see what I think.
That is the hardest part - to be able to stand back from the work and eye it critically, seeing what still needs to be fixed, polished, rewritten. For me, it's often little plot holes that I don't see, which is where another writer/editor is useful. So that is planned for next week.
In the meantime, I have several other projects in front of me. A short story that I am looking at expanding into a novella (because it's a story with an ending that says there are many things that could happen to these people, and besides, there is a competition on right now for novellas and I love a deadline); another short story that is unfinished and it got out of control and needs a re-think; three picture books in various drafts that need a lot more work. Other things that I would love to write if only I had time. Oh yes, and six classes to prepare because I am off to the Children's Book Council conference next week and there will be no time to prep anything when I get back because someone is coming to start ripping out my kitchen and I have to pack up all my stuff.
Last night I saw on TV the first of the new series of Rebus (from the Ian Rankin novels). I know plenty of people thought John McCallum was not the right actor for Rebus in the first series, but Ken Stott is worse. Too jolly by far! And fancies himself as a ladies man - which Rebus is not. Still, this is what happens when books are made into TV or movies - you either go with the interpretation and changes or you don't. 'Charlotte's Web' is due to be released sometime soon. We'll see then what everyone thinks of that version.
One thing that I am finding interesting at the moment is the way some writers are using either their blogs or their websites to 'publish' their writing. There is an ongoing debate about copyright in this digital age, and the Australian government is looking at copyright laws again this week. We also have another case of what is being called accidental plagiarism (the Sloppy Firsts book etc). I am beginning to think I am very old-fashioned about all this, but to me, a book is a book (I also include journals and magazines here) and authors are selling publication rights. That is all we have to sell to make a living. It's a widget. People who invent new widgets take out patents, and then they get to sell their widget as an exclusive (yes, until a rip-off merchant copies it - that's illegal too).
If I have invented a widget story, that I hope to sell, there is no way I am going to show everyone what it is and make it available before I have sold it. Anything published on my website has already been published or sold before.
As I said, maybe I am being old-fashioned about this, but the bottom line is: if I want to try and make a living as a writer, what else do I have to sell?