So I just finished the first draft of Dragonbreath 2.
You’d probably expect me to be elated, unless you’ve got a lot of experience with writers, in which case you’re probably familiar with this phenomenon. I am not elated. I feel like I have literary post-partum depression. I want to curl up on the couch with…like…pork fried rice or bbq chicken or potato chips or some other comfort food and have a good mope.
This is not really stupid, although of course it feels a little stupid. The thing is, I have now gotten most of the fun out of creating this book that I will get. All of the "AHA! And this goes there and this goes THERE and OH MY GOD, I AM A GENIUS!" moments have occurred.* All the next stages will involve it being hacked to shreds, reassembled, bits I like removed, bits I have no idea how to write needing to be written, all of which will make it BETTER, but which require a lot of hard work. Plus there’s the dread ("What if they hate it? What if it’s terrible? What if I have to re-write the whole thing because my plots suck awfully?!") and the horror ("Oh god, I have to do like ninety illustrations for this thing…") and even though it will be a FINE book, I’m sure the audience will like it as much as they liked Dragonbreath 1–reviews of which now include two children, who both enjoyed it and are very excited about the ninja frogs promised in Dragonbreath 2–the dread and the horror and the gloom set in.
Also, there’s the fairly logical at-loose-end-ness you get when a big, totally absorbing project is no longer hanging over your head with quite such immediacy. I get those when a really good, gripping painting is over, but it’s much less pronounced, because the paintings I create in a frenzy of paintiness only take a day or two, and writing the book took about two months.**
I’m taking this weekend to glomp around and work on other stuff. Next Monday I’ll edit, then I’ll send it in–it’s due the 15th, so I’m beating the deadline by a couple of days–and thenI’ll face the music.
Tonight, the incomparable Kevin has agreed to bring me KFC BBQ chicken, which will comfort me in the way that bad food often does, and I will go…I dunno…watch a movie or something until the kids go to bed and I can kill zombies with a glad heart.
*These are arguably the best bit about writing anything.
**Other writers who just lost all sympathy, let me point out that it was a short book, and a lot of it is comic book format, so I still have about three months of paintings to do.