On September 13, 2012, at 5:38 p.m., I completed the fourth and final draft of my new novel manuscript. But the feeling of closure was eluding me, even as I wrapped up being a writer for the week and hit the road as a musician for the weekend, and it wasn't until days later that the point was driven home. And it had everything to do with Page 333.
But first, fellow writers, a peek into my process.
Every chapter, regardless of whether or not I'm writing it for the first time or revising it for the thirtieth time, gets copied and pasted into my MacBook's "TextEdit" program. Here, I use the program's "Speech" function to literally read the chapter back to me, and I do this to catch all of the dropped words and weird grammar and spelling problems that my tired eyes may have missed. I then print out the chapter, put it in the binder, and move on to the next one.
Now, sometimes as I'm revising, I may find a few consistency problems in the manuscript that require my going back and making corrections to specific issues throughout. Like any Word document, I use the "Find and Replace" feature, and then these pages get re-printed and then inserted into the binder where they belong according to page number. Well, my aforementioned lack of closure was wiped away as working in conjunction with my obsession with the number three, the Universe dictated that the very last page out of approximately twenty-five insert pages would be Page 333.
I have since moved on to writing the Synopsis for potential agency representation, as it is all a part of the package, a crucial step in the traditional publishing game that I intend to play. In a way, the Synopsis is harder to write than the book, as it forces an objective view of the material in order to include only the crucial plot points. But even this step has enforced the closure, for as I go back into the actual manuscript to find where I've left off in the Synopsis, I find myself reading with a freed-up mind that's just enjoying the quality of the writing as a result of over a year's worth of hard work revising.
And it's all because of Page 333, the page that told me to stop, the key that locked this baby up ... at least for now.
The journey begins.