The Joy of the Last Sentence

Yes, joy! Because that is where for the last six months I’ve been heading with the story of Hades and Persephone. There is nothing like the feeling of being able to say THE END, even though there are weeks of editing, cutting, rewriting, reducing to come. Yesterday the final sentence before plunging out into the endless rain with Lila, my black labrador. Today I printed the whole thing off, gazed with satisfaction at the fat product of all that industry and began to read, pen in hand.

It’s impossible to edit for too long at a time. After an hour of concentration I start to miss things. So breaks are essential and I have plenty of other projects on the go. Currently poetry is uppermost, then returning to The Courage Game to continue turning it into a play, as requested by a number of people. And of course there’s always the ongoing memoir, mostly written for my children to enjoy sometime when I shall no longer be there.

But that can all wait a while for today is celebration of the first draft completed. There’s still a long way to go: multiple read-throughs, then I send it to four trusty friends who I know won’t pull the punches if something doesn’t work. One more edit from their feedback and it’s time to bite the dragon’s tail and hang on for dear life because it’ll shake you off again and again, dismissive, uncaring. Yes, I’m talking about agents and publishers to whom all that work is nothing but – will it sell in today’s market?

And of course I’m hopeful. There’s been a small resurgence of interest in the Greek gods: Madeline Miller with Circe and The Song of Achilles; Pat Barker with The Silence of the Girls, all brilliant books. Can I join that Olympian cluster? We’ll see.