The End Is In Sight- A Small Writing Update

I’ve not done a writing update for a little while, so here’s a wee quickie.


Dead Zoo Shuffle currently stands at 98,000 words, and is reasonably close to being completed- I would say between another 5,000-10,000 words and I’ll be able to write THE END in a giant font and dance around the room. I already know that DZS will need a heavy beating with the editing stick, not to mention the addition of an entire subplot that needs to go in there somewhere, so the work is far from over. Still, I’ll be glad to have the first draft under my belt at least.


This is a strange stage. Now that I’m so close, finishing the book seems, for the first time, inevitable. At no other point in the first draft do I feel like I’m definitely going to get to the end. I spend most of the draft convinced that I will lose all energy and enthusiasm and splutter out at around the 65,000 word mark (I usually get this feeling most intensely at the 60,000 word mark, funnily enough). So this is a nice place to be. Another week, two weeks, and I’ll get there if I keep plodding on. Although, Marshall and Zootsi have been so much fun to write that I’m glad there’s going to be at least two more books in the DZS series – I couldn’t bear to part with them at the moment!


So I’m thinking I need to develop some sort of writer’s ritual for finishing the book. You know, type THE END, sit back, light a cigar. Or have a glass of wine. Or break open that special box of chocolates. Or sprint round the block banging a saucepan with a dessert spoon whilst singing Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance.


Any suggestions? And if you’re a writer, do you have a ritual?

11 thoughts on “The End Is In Sight- A Small Writing Update

  1. It’s a surprisingly tough question. I just finished a novel today, but after I hit save I was like, “what do I do know?” I don’t have a routine either, but I think it would be a good idea to develop one. I know writers who run to a whole range of milestones while writing – a trip out for sushi after a quarter, a trip to the movies at the halfway point, a new pair of shoes when finished.But you have to find what works for you. I’m still searching – today I had a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate, and a few people on Twitter said “Well done”. Which was nice, of course, but it seemed a little low key.Writing a piece of fiction that is 100,000 words long is really quite an achievement!

  2. I believe stumbling round in a stupor for three days eating random things, drinking too much alcohol or talking random drugs if that works for you is traditional. After three days you decide it is rubbish and should be shredded and you should probably be shredded with it. Shortly after this you start writing the next one; which is the point you decided that the last thing you wrote was the best thing you will ever write and you will never be able to do it again…Repeat every year or as indicated by your agent, publisher or conscience

  3. Damn – I don’t have a ritual (unless posting ‘We Are The Champions’ to my journal counts. Now I feel like I shoudl ahve one. Preferably with wine.

  4. When I finish a book, I hope for good weather. I usually wrap up at night, and when that happens, I poke my head in on my child, just to make sure she is still asleep. I then head out on to the deck (soon to be a patio) and I enjoy a scotch (about two fingers worth) and a cigar. I step away from Twitter, Facebook, computers, technology, and the rest of the world, and I enjoy the silence. Now that I have a fire pit, I will probably add that into the equation.That’s how I celebrate: relishing in the satisfaction that the story is done……until we get to edits.

  5. No celebrations as such but I had plans to take a couple of weeks off with my wife when I finished my first novel, at the end of last year. We were going to catch up on a whole bunch of movies, go for long walks, visit friends and relatives who I’d put off while I was writing. You name it. Unfortunately I caught the flu and could do much of anything.I’ve already started the next book but this time I’m going to be kinder to myself, get sleep, eat properly and so on. And when it’s done, perhaps I’ll pop the cork on some bubbly.

  6. The first time I finished a whole novel, from beginning to end, I followed my other half round the house demanding high fives until she told me to go away. Then I played computer games for a whole weekend.Not sure it counts as a ritual, but it was bliss.

  7. We are a cigar-loving lot, aren’t we? When I finished the first draft of [REDACTED], last year, I had a good cry (the guy to whom it’s dedicated, Mac Tonnies, had just recently and unexpectedly died), went out on the patio even though it was January, lit a cigar, drank most of a bottle of good chenin blanc, and picked a friend from my phone at random to call out of the blue and gab with. That time it was Donna “MsInformation” Mugavero. Who shall it be when draft 2 of [REDACTED] is finished, possibly this week? The wheel is spinning…Oh, and it will probably won’t be a chenin blanc; the brand I was drinking is discontinued. So it goes..

  8. Ah, I am definitely going with Jon’s suggestion- if you don’t hear from me next weekend, you’ll know why. I am leaning towards some sort of booze (possibly not red wine as I tend to ingest that continually anyway) and some sort of dessert. Yes. Some sort of fancy pudding from Marks & Spencers.Rock and roll, baby!Thanks for the replies, people- I love hearing about this sort of stuff. 😀

  9. Oop, I forgot the video games portion of my celebration! There will definitely be much smiting of darkspawn and bellowing at the telly. *high five*

  10. See, this is all very well for people who drink and smoke (cigars, anyway). I do neither, so finding that post-novel reward is a little harder.Hmm. A fancy pudding has potential. There is a Waitrose just down the road…

  11. Pudding pudding pudding! Buy an entire cheesecake and eat it all to yourself. Have a cake specially iced with the words “WELL DONE NOVELIST!”. Make a castle out of French Fancies and then pretend to be an ogre, eating them all.

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