What's it Like to Finish Writing a Novel?
Well, of course I only know what it feels like to me personally. And I'm never sure a piece is really finished until it's in print, and that might be never. You can think you're finished any number of times -- basically after each draft -- but I think The Paraclete is really finished this time in the sense that I won't work on it any more until and unless the book goes under contract and the publisher wants revisions.
So how does it feel? I write from a deep well of emotional scar tissue and Angst in the presence of spiritual forces that might well be referred to as the paraclete, an interesting coincidence given the title of the novel I just finished. It took a few days to emerge from the creative space, but once my head cleared, I could see that writing the novel has left me purged of a lot of the Angst, the emotional scar tissue now much less sanguine, much assuaged and blended in with the rest of my guts.
You might also be interested in what it feels like to finish the first draft of a novel. I made a note, I'm glad to report, at that juncture of writing The Paraclete, in 2011. Here's what I said:
"The process of telling this story has been like the healing of contusions and abrasions on the little body of the spiritual homunculus in my brain. The various episodes in the story have been crafted in the way scab material extends over broken flesh, sometimes forming rather odd-shaped scars.
"I've had no agenda in writing this book. I don't have a message that I'm trying to convey. Please don't worry about the damn Shingaru. However, in telling the story, and looking at every aspect of it and asking myself, 'Is this the truth?' I do believe that there is, in the end, a mystery solved, and that exploring a mystery, when it is simply the unanswered question of any individual's particular meaning, is in itself acceptable labor for an artist. A solution to such a mystery is relevant, and the quest for it worthwhile."