Not that long ago, I recorded an image for posterity. I had reached an exciting and momentous point in my novel, At Peace With All Things, and couldn't quite believe it - I had written 100,000 words.
That was really something. My previous novel (Mother's Helper) had been just under 70,000 words. My short story collection (Some Body's At The Door) was more like 60,000. My flash fiction collection is around 55,000 words...
So to have written 100,000 words on one project was something new and exciting for me. It also meant I was almost finished with the first draft. And just under 10,000 words later, I was done. It was done. My first foray into literary fiction, and two years of work (sometimes hard, sometimes not so hard), and now it was over.
That was a strange feeling.
What would I do now?
Of course, I hadn't only written At Peace for the past two years. I'd written my blog, numerous pieces of flash fictions, dozens of short stories, and even a few poems. But this was the big project. This was what people asked about when they wanted to know how my writing was going. "How's The Novel coming along?" "Have you finished The Novel yet?" "When's The Novel being published?"
Always The Novel. Never the novel. It was too important for that.
No, I had done other writing, other more successful writing, but The Novel was my first love and now that it was finished, I was at a loss. My plan was to leave it alone for a month, maybe two, and come back to it fresh and look at it was different eyes.
One email changed those plans. It was an email I sent on the off chance, thinking I was too late, but determined to be able to say I tried.
But I wasn't too late.
I was just in time. I got an email back which included an e-ticket and a time slot to meet with a Very Important Person.
Now, thanks to a friend of a friend in a Facebook group who posted the link, I am attending Foyles' Discovery Day, and meeting with an agent from Curtis Brown. Oh yes. I have 30 seconds to pitch The Novel, and six minutes to talk with the agents.
So I wanted to get At Peace edited. Not because I'm expecting the agent to suddenly leap up from his or her chair and grasp my lapels and beg me to hand over the entire book. No, although such a scenario may well feature in my happy dreams between now and 22nd September. I simply want to have The Novel finished, in its entirety, so that I can walk in there with confidence, knowing the book back to front and inside out. Knowing it is correct, that the timeline works, that the characters are consistent, and that it is as perfect as I can make it.
I've got just under six weeks, and I'm one third of the way through the editing.
I think I can do this.
Wish me luck!