Stick a fork in me – I’m done!

Great expression that, don’t you think? It refers of course to roasting meat. A chicken for example. Stick a fork in the leg and if the juices run clear (instead of bloody – yuk) then it’s cooked.

I suppose though that in this case it would be more accurate to say “Stick a fork in Chloe’s Education – it’s done.” Or at least, the first tentative draft is. Last night, I typed what I hope is the last scene. And it felt like a weight lifting.

What I want to do now is print the thing out (it runs to 79000 words and 145 pages – good job we have a duplex printer at work) and give it a good reading with a red pen in my hand. Hopefully, I’ll spot things better on paper than staring at the screen. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading from screen and with other people’s work I can edit just fine on screen – but my own words? I need to study them on paper. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps they don’t feel like my words when they are printed so I see them with fresh eyes.

The story is also out with my wonderful Phaze editor, who’s agreed to give me an opinion before I prep it for submission, and a very close friend who is always ready to tell me when I’ve gone wrong and, equally important, where I’ve gone right. I wouldn’t mind getting the opinions of one or two other “beta-readers” too, but I worry that too many cooks and all that. Still, if anyone wants to volunteer…

I think I need to re-look at the ending, and there are bound to be areas I add to or cut, but I’m pretty happy with it so far. I think it hits the right notes and has good pace. But then, I wrote it, so what do I know.

I guess now I have to turn my attention to other things. Try and clear my head before I look at working on a second draft. I think I might try and knock out a couple of shorts. They are always fun to write and will certainly clear away any cobwebs.

But for now, I’m going to bask in my own self-satisfaction of having completed a near 80000 word draft. After all, it’s only taken me over a year.

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