Finishing a Novel

abstract image to represent the documents of TabatToday I finished Hearts of Tabat. Sure, I’ll go back and do some smoothing before sending it off to beta readers on Monday, but the book is done, the scenes are there, and (roughly) in the order they should be. The last scene took a lot of circling — I went out and walked five miles, came back, poked at it, went into the other room and made some notes, came back and kept pecking away.

I felt resistant to getting that last scene down on paper — I know that after a year and half with this book I am simultaneously exultant that it is, finally, done and sense has been wrestled from the seething mass of incoherence, and at the same time reluctant to let go of what has occupied a substantial part of my head for quite some time.

It’s an odd floaty but incomplete feeling. I feel as though I’m not sure what I should be doing, and a little anxious yet jubilant. There is a certain fear that beta readers will get something and go, “this is not a book”. Particularly when I’m trying something a bit adventurous with the structure, which I’ll save talk of for another time. I think they’ll like it; it’s as rich in Tabatian flavor as the first book and considerably more things happen in this one, to address the main criticism of that first.

Since I haven’t posted any stories on Patreon this month, I put up the first three chapters, but only for patrons. I figure they make the writing of the novels possible by supporting the stories. If you’re a patron, I look forward to hearing what you think.

I know that I need to read through the draft at least once and make sure all the names are correct; they shifted around a lot during the writing and most of the characters have gone through at least two permutations (Ariadne/Adelina, Skilto/Sebastiano, Crocofissia/Serafina) as have some of the surnames. There’s also some scraps of notes I’ve jotted down: loose ends to tuck into the narrative here and there.

But it feels as though there are a lot fewer redundant passages in Hearts than in Beasts, mainly because this manuscript hasn’t, like its poor counterpart, had multiple editors and agents leave their mark on it.

I’m also reassured that being SFWA President will not destroy my career; I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish a book while in office, but here you go. I promised Wayne if I didn’t get two done this year I wouldn’t run again; now I’m halfway.

At seven, I’ve got a Mandarin lesson via Skype, but I’d rather play Fallout. However, I will be good, and make poor Grace listen to my vowels and exhort me to “practiss, more practiss” before I will go indulge. Tomorrow I will plunge in the other big project due at the end of the month and frantically plow through that, but for the rest of the night, I get to play video games and not feel a gram of guilt for doing so.

May is for getting the YA novel finished; it’s currently about half written. I finally figured out the title, which is Conflagration.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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