The satisfied sigh and bittersweet grin that comes with typing those two words at the end of a novel is something we writers dream about.. We stay up late into the night with buckets of coffee, plot, outline, and hammer away at the keyboard for months, years. We kill off characters we’ve grown to love. We weave sub plots together, toil on timelines and settings, and write ourselves into corners. We do extensive research. I’m on probably every NSA watch list in existence because of my search history. Nukes, biological weapons, how to build bombs, make gunpowder, oh yeah. Every time a black SUV passes my house I wonder.
We pat ourselves on the back when we right something true, pull out our hair when we fall short. Stilted dialog, tropes, cliches, those nasty “ly” adverbs. Words our editors point out we’re overfond of. I, personally, like the word “that,” way too much.
And then those glorious few seconds, when we type “The End.”
The seconds pass, and we realize we’ve still got the rewrite and the edit ahead, and there is a mixture of relief and disappointment because we’re not quite ready to say goodbye to these characters, but we wish we were.
So comes the editing, the rewriting, slashing and adding and subtracting. Trying to polish an hone.
Perhaps there is a sequel in us?
Can we come back to this world?