And the winner is…


Paula’s Post #21 – And the Winner is…


All of us.

We’ve all made it to the last day, together. In my book (not to put to fine a pun on it) that makes us all winners.  I’d like to congratulate each of my fellow 5writers: Helga, Joe, Karalee and Silk on their tenacity, commitment, good humour and professionalism. Bravo!

when the clock strike midnightNow, technically, my sister Cinderellas (and one beloved Cinderfella) have until the stroke of midnight, tonight,  to push ‘send’ and fire their manuscripts off into cyberspace. But by now it is clear to me that we’ve all come out of this a winner. As Vince Lombard famously once said: Quitters never win… and winners never quit.

In the early days of this challenge, my colleague Silk quite rightly corrected me when I called our challenge “a race’. It is not a race, it is a journey. One that we’ve  been privileged to embark upon together.

I was going to make the title of today’s post: ‘post-mortem’ because I think it is an apt description of what we all will want to do when this challenge is officially over: review our experiences and describe what we liked and didn’t like, what we learned and didn’t learn, what helped us and what didn’t help us. In other words: ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’

But we’re not quite there yet, so I’ll leave the ‘post-mortem’ for another day.

Instead, since February is Oscan month and in keeping with the title of this post and the spirit of the Academy Awards, I’d like to adopt the time-honoured tradition of thanking our loyal followers for encouraging us along the way. Thank you.

I’d also like to thank our friends, family, significant others, children, parents, nieces, nephews, dogs, cats and husbands for their patience, kindness, encouragement, understanding and love. We couldn’t have done this without you. So thank you for excusing all the unmade dinners, forgotten walks, movies missed, beds unmade and balls dropped.

And of course, thank you to each and every one of my 5writers colleagues for the privilege of sharing this journey.

The reveal:

On February 3rd, during the Superbowl, when the lights went out in New Orleans and the Ravens and 49’ers stood around in the dark, I typed “The End.”

Is it done? Noooooooooo!!!! Not by a longshot. Unlike my intrepid colleague Joe, who I suspect is brushing up the second or even third draft and will be pretty close to editor and agent time soon, I barely managed to get to the finish line.  But I have a finished manuscript  with a beginning, a middle and an end. Some scenes I’m proud of and others… not so much.

But I did it!

Target Word Count:              100,000*

Progress as of Last Post:         80,084

Final Word Count:                   90,717

Words short of Target:              9,283

Target Page Count:                     400

Pages Written to Date:                388

Pages short of Target.                   12

A word of explanation: My ‘rough’ guesstimate for my manuscript was always 100,000 words or approximately 400 pages. But that was always just an estimate. Early on, one of our most loyal followers, Bev, suggested 100,000 words was ‘too long’ for a YA Novel and I took her words to heart. But the other reason that my book ended up slightly less than anticipated is that it was ‘done’. The characters told me where it finished. Their journey was done and thus so was mine. In the rewrites, I’d like to shorten it further still, down to about 80,000 words. Who knows? My characters may have other ideas. The only thing that is certain is that, like death and taxes, there will be rewrites.

So, I officially declare that as of 5:37 p.m. P.S.T on Sunday, February 3rd, 2013 I typed “The End.”

Now, the hard part starts!

10 thoughts on “And the winner is…

  1. Thanks Colleen!
    We really, really appreciate all of you who have followed us and left comments. Right now I’m feeling pretty giddy. I’m taking the day off and playing golf. At 6PM tonight, I’m pouring a glass of wine for myself and then I’m going to hit ‘send’. Sorry guys, but I’m afraid if I try to stay up until midnight, I’ll fall asleep and miss the deadline!

  2. Congratulations Paula! An elegant and generous post – thank you. As I’ve been hinting (or flat-out saying) for the past couple of months, it will be some time before I get to type “The End” and join you on the top of the mountain. Right now, back to the climb!

    • Thanks Silk! Don’t run yourself ragged. Find a natural break point in what you’ve written so far, take a deep breath and push send. Then pour yourself a nice glass of wine and say “Ah…”

      Believe me, from everything I”ve read, with the possible exception of Joe, we’ll all be doing lots of rewrites, editing scenes, fleshing out our characters, revving up the action, ratcheting up the tension.

      But that’s tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day!

  3. I think I’m almost as relieved as you guys! But I’m really proud of you all for sticking with it, right to the bitter end, and from the commitment that I’ve not only seen through the last 5 months, but for to keep on working on it – to either finish the drafts, or start revising and editing. Way to go, all of you! I’m raising a glass to you all tomorrow evening.

    And please, keep us posted on how it’s going!

  4. Nice wrap up Paula. Congratulations to all five of you. Good work. I’d love to hear all about the post mortem when it’s done, as well as see the results of your labours.

    • Thanks so much! I think we’re all pretty committed to getting those rewrites done and finishing our projects, then, who knows what will happen. All the encouragement has been great though, thanks!

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