I like to call it a fever. Something that starts slowly and, by the end, has bloomed into a bout of full-fledged madness. This is what happens to me when it comes to ending a story and I’m at my deadline. I’m more or less pacing myself with The Walker and the Doe as I draw to its close, but I wanted to take some time to reflect on the night I finished the first draft of The Forger.
It started close to 7:00 p.m.. That much I remember in regards to time. I was sitting on a little over 98,000 words and had just finished writing a pivotal scene in which my protagonist is finally reunited with the rest of his friends and I could feel the fatigue setting in. “Okay,” I thought. “Let me just crank out another short scene.”
I poured myself a cup of coffee, the scene came to me and flowed…and continued to flow. I started thinking to myself, “Holy shit. I might actually get pretty close to the end of this book.” I kept writing. Battle scenes, flashbacks, more battle scenes.
More coffee. A flurry of typing, wide-eyed and and refusing to move from my chair. I clacked the keyboard of my laptop about as hungrily and greedily as a child shoving cookies into their mouth. I wanted more. I wanted to see how this story finished, what became of the characters. I kept at it, and by about midnight, maybe earlier, maybe later–I really don’t remember; it’s a blur at this point–I found myself typing the last few sentences to of the epilogue.
I finished, stared at my screen, and went, “Oh my fucking god. I just wrote 10,000 words in a night.” Suffice it to say I was teetering on the brink of delirium. I drank so much coffee and spent so much time looking at the screen, typing my mind away, that when I finally finished I knew what colors sounded like and what noises looked like.
To this point, The Forger is the longest book I’ve written and it is also the one I’ve written the fastest, which I find funny. Sewn From Seeds: Disinterred took a year and a half and weighed in at about 70,000 words. The Forger took me six months cumulatively and stands at 112,000 at present. I chalk it up to me having grown as a writer; to being a writer who has learned how to write better characters, plots, and settings.
To being a writer who’s willing to write any time of the day (not just nights as I previously did because “I can’t write during the day.”).
I think the point of this was to say that, if the ending’s in your head, you might as well just go for it. Looking back, had I not written the end of The Forger that night, it probably would’ve taken me another week or so.
I’m glad I can taste color and see sound.
–The Emperor’s Blades, by Brian Staveley
–The Reckoners trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson
–Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull
–A View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman
–The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, by The Oatmeal