Sunday, I finished Dreaming in Shadow's first draft. I cried. And I actually felt accomplished. More so than I did - at least, initially - with Magic Inc. (Maybe Jan was right in saying completing Magic Inc. first would be better.) It was definitely bittersweet, though. I spent a lot of this week doing things, that reminded me of around the time I started writing Dreaming in Shadow: Peter Pan and Final Fantasy X-2, mostly. They both eased the bitter part just a little.
I've been thinking, though... it's funny how nostalgic I can feel about pretty much every period of my life, even though I was miserable through each of them. I don't know if that means my life keeps getting worse or I just need the distance to appreciate things better. Still, if I focus for more than a moment, the bad feelings of that time sweep me up again, and I relive them with excruciating - if temporary - pain. Nostalgia is a dangerous monster for me. A lovely sleeping tiger in a den. Don't get too close.
But I was proud. I was also scared. I've hinted before that Dreaming in Shadow has an ending which people could see in a certain way. A way I wasn't intending. And once I finished, I was worried, so worried. What if even Jill couldn't get what I was really trying to represent? No point in even putting this book out if that was all people would ever see.
But that's not what she saw at all. She saw the real meaning without even a hint of an explanation. She 'got' it. In fact, she loved it. The ending. The story. The connections to the rest of my world. All of it. And suddenly, I was flooded with relief. I'd done it. I'd actually accomplished something really special. I'd expressed a complete feeling. And it was lovely... not just in my eyes.
There is work yet to be done. I think that goes without saying, since most people seem to have a different idea of what a first draft is to them. To me, it is the complete story, just in a raw state. Few things will change. Some things will be added. Nothing important will change. I usually figure out most of the important stuff before I even start writing. Mostly, it will be a lot of slight wording changes and making things clearer. Adding more depth where it is needed. And I am so excited to do this. Truly. Most of the major emotionally hard work is done. Now, I can breathe easier and just focus on making the story the best I can for future readers.