I just finished a novel (a sexy espionage thriller) and experienced once more the incredible relief and joy that typing the very last words of a book brings. There’s such satisfaction in finally reaching that point after the long haul of chapters. This was a relatively short process, about two months (some novels have taken me years), so the beginning was still fresh enough in my mind to feel a genuine sense of wonder that I had reached the end.
It’s satisfying to have created something out of nothing. That’s the magic of writing.
I find it especially gratifying when it’s on the scale of a novel. You’re conscious of juggling narrative threads, characters and locations with manic energy throughout, so when you can finally set them all down neatly in a row, the sense of accomplishment is worth savouring—and celebrating.
But then comes the inevitable sadness; with luck, you get to enjoy the happiness for a while before you realise that the people with whom you’ve spent so much time have gone away. You miss them. They’ve been talking in your head for so long and now the voices are silent. Fortunately, I will in all likelihood be seeing many of these characters again.
However, the only real solution is to find yourself typing those other words that have as much thrill as “The End”—those words, of course, are “Chapter One” or any other start up phrases. Think of the thrill inherent in the phrase “Once upon a time”.
Begin again—writing is an endless cycle. Stories only end so new ones can begin. The magic is always waiting to be reborn.
Make some magic today.