Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 29, 2011

An End and a Beginning

Getting to the end of a manuscript I’ve lived with in various ways for years meant a time of small small steps. I’ve been obsessing over words and the sounds of syllables, tidying line breaks, taking an ant’s eye view on the look of the way letters stood side by side. Titles were changed. Lines clarified and mystified and clarified in new ways. My nose was kept close to the paper. The heat helped keep the house hushed so I could hear if words rubbed each other the wrong way as I read them aloud. 

Then I got to hit send. Let the wild rumpus begin.

And waiting, of course. To steer clear of over-obsessing, I’m thinking of ways to celebrate. Perhaps a bit more swimming, or going to lakes farther afield. Enjoying some of the books stacked around. And plunging into the new, which isn’t entirely new but working with memories of old research to stir up a ne plot and voice. After staring down commas, I’m glad to be reckless with punctuation. After forcing things into lines, I’m happy to let sentences and phrases fall where they will. I love this messy part of creation, putting down words without regard for the housekeeping that will have to come later. And I like to stare away from the pages and ponder. Especially in this season of day lilies. Which I’d show you, if the funkier-than-usual-this-week LJ would let me. So imagine, please, a sea of orange and green.



  1. The end of the beginning?
    Lovely entry, Jeannine. You have such a rich way of putting into words moments and emotions with which I’ve wrestled. I wish you all the best as your manuscript evolves into a living, breathing book.

  2. Oh, how lovely!

  3. …so I could hear if words rubbed each other the wrong way as I read them aloud.
    Oooh, I love that! I always read things aloud to hear any dissonance in the melodic and rhythmic line. Sometimes my family thinks I’m a little nutty when they walk by and hear me say things one way and then another over and over.
    Wow Jeannine, it looks like you’ve been working hard through the heat–congratulations on hitting that send button! And now you get to relax a bit and start playing with words and ideas again. I’m hoping LJ stays up so we can share writing sessions again.

  4. Congrats on hitting send! Hope you have a relaxing fun weekend!

  5. The messy part of writing — nice! 🙂

  6. Re: The end of the beginning?
    Thanks so much for your encouraging words, Jayne! Good luck with your own wrestling.

  7. Thanks, Cindy. It sounds — from this distance — as if your novel is moving ahead just the way it should. Good luck with the hurdles — I, too, hate to see my characters in trouble, but know it’s for the greater good!

  8. So glad you are murmuring to yourself. I’m sure your family would miss it if you stopped. And, yes, hope LJ gets ahold of itself and we can offer each other iced tea and scones. I’m offering now. I do like this stage when I can turn off my editor for a bit and just stir up a lot of dust and muddle.

  9. It’s great how other authors get how fun that brief moment of hitting send is. Glad to prolong the joy with good company! Looks like a swim and a movie are on the weekend’s agenda, and a fat book to read.

  10. Even when we know it’s our editor-selves who are going to have to grit our teeth and roll our eyes eventually and sweep up the messes, it is certainly fun to spread out and fling those words willy nilly! Have a good weekend!

  11. Imagining that sea of orange and green. 🙂 Enjoy the long swims!

  12. Beautifully put, Jeannine!

  13. Happy rumpusing!

  14. Thanks, Jeni!

  15. Thanks, Sarah. Hope you’re moving toward to some sweet endings of your own. And long views of real sea.

  16. The rumpuses are rather mild mannered, but I do enjoy that part! And the way some lead toward new messes to explore on paper.

  17. Congrats on hitting send and stirring up new plots!

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