And the magic words are... THE END.
There have been times over the past two and a bit years when it felt like this book would never be finished, but it is at last - well, the first draft at any rate.
Since 2013, I have been turning out two books a year consistently. I even once attempted to write two books at the same time, but gave up on that particular enterprise quite quickly because it doesn't really work. I don't have a female mind, so multi-tasking doesn't come naturally.
'The Secret Angels' seems to have taken forever, but it isn't my longest gestation period. My first ever book, 'Usurper' was begun in 1972, but not completed until 2011! The difference was that I spent the vast majority of that time doing other things.
'Angels' has been different. It was begun in January of 2016, so it has taken more than two years to complete. In its distended development, it has been through four computers, three word processors and four different operating systems. It was begun on my old iMac, running OS X El Capitan, with an excellent Mac-only word processor, called Nisus Writer Pro. That didn't last long, though. The Mac died on me and I couldn't afford a replacement. That moved me onto my venerable old back-up PC, running Linux Mint Serena, and Libre Office Writer. Then that one died too, just before Christmas of 2016. That put me onto my second back-up machine - a refurbished PC that I had bought to do exam marking (my annual penance for being a former teacher). It was running Windows 7 with Libre Office Writer, but it soon became apparent that it had been originally designed for Windows XP and was hopelessly underpowered to deal with 7. As a short term fix, I breathed a bit of life into it by installing Linux Mint and a new word processor that I liked much more than Libre: WPS Writer.
Last summer, I got my current computer, a really fast quad-core PC, running Windows 10. I installed the Windows version of WPS and have finally finished the book with that.
The next book (fingers crossed) will be done from start to finish on that machine in WPS.
Coupled with all that, I suffered the worst case of writer's block that I had experienced in years. The only way to get rid of that is to work through it. Much of what you write is, inevitably, not very good when you are blocked - but bits of quality do seep through from time to time. The poor stuff, of course, is edited out and replaced on redrafting, and 'Angels' was redrafted again and again. So much so, in fact, that I don't expect the editing stage to last that long. Two weeks, perhaps, after which it will go to Cuzzie for proofreading.
Fortunately, I enjoy editing, so I am looking forward to the next stage. It involves printing out the entire text and going through it ruthlessly with highlighters, cutting, adding and replacing text as necessary - redrafting the whole book yet again. Then I do it backwards, meaning that I start at the last page and work my way forwards. Each paragraph is read the right way round, of course, but in reverse order. That breaks up the flow of the text and makes mistakes and poor style easier to spot.
Now that the donkey work is almost done, I am pleased with the result. There were times when I didn't think I would be able to complete it, but now I will, and that is a promise. The final product will be a book that I am proud of. Look to see it published in late May or early June.
Writer of Fantasy, thrillers, comedy - and anything else that takes my fancy.