By Eilis Flynn
There’s nothing as surprising, exciting, shocking, or nerve-wracking…as getting to the end of one’s latest work in progress. I’m at that point where I can see all the points that have to be addressed, all the details that have to covered, all the motivation that has to be spelled out somewhere along the way…most likely in the rewrite, but that’s another day. All I can see is finishing the first draft, and that’s going to be in the next few weeks. I never thought I’d see it end.
I started this particular book about 2002, not long after finishing my urban fantasy/coming of age of a super-heroine story, Introducing Sonika. I wanted this story to take place in the same universe, in the same urban region, and in some cases, even across the street. And I wanted to use an idea I had longer ago than that, based on a comic book heroine who was introduced without an origin, only a story without an inciting incident. Theories ran thick and fast about who she was, how she could do what she could do, and what her motivation was (the usual—good? Bad? Mixed? Forgotten?).
Of course, I had my own theories about who she was, and how she did it. None of my theories bore fruit, as it turned out, but by the time I found that out, I knew I wanted to flesh out my version of this mysterious super-heroine. What she could do, I decided, had nothing to do with science or technology or even physiology, except in the vaguest of ways. And with that, I wanted to weave a story.
Not a lot to work on, but it was enough. So for the next twelve—12!—years, in bits and pieces, after the day job and before, after the freelance gigs and when there wasn’t any, I took all the scribbled notes and partly fleshed-out bits of scenes and even the final scene, written out without knowing anything about what had gone on before that made that scene significant, and started to build.
The construction took time. While I was writing that story over the years, I managed to write and finish five novels, one graphic novella (the script, not the art, before you ask) and one novella, two articles, and other writings. That may not seem like much to you, but the day job took up a lot of time, as you might imagine. And I kept coming back to this one particular story. And now, I am so close to finishing it. And you betcha it feels good.
There is no moral to this story, except to say that you can’t ever finish that book if you don’t keep plugging at it; and you can’t write that book if you don’t keep thinking about it. I’ve thought about this one for more than twelve (12) years, and the day I’m done not only with the first draft but the final one, I will dance a jig. And since I’m lousy at dancing jigs, it will be done in the privacy of my office, but dance it I will.
Eilis Flynn can be found to argue with at Facebook, Twitter, or at her website at www.eilisflynn.com or www.emsflynn.com, if you’re looking for an editor. She was laid off last year, which is why she finally had time to finish that book.