The Road to "The End"

Pinch me? Five days since I finished my novel, Amongst the Roses. I waited two days to write here about it because I was that word-drained, overwhelmingly relieved and incandescently happy. I've heard it said that writing and finishing a novel can resemble birth. Don't believe me? Read this hilarious but oddly applicable post from The Writer's Alley.  

Two months ago, I was unsure as to if I would even finish my novel this year. And I hated not knowing--but I had to recommit the book and my writing to the Lord. There's nothing on earth I can do to ensure that this novel will be The One to get a contract. And I thought that if I just finished it ASAP, query it out quickly and get the ball rolling that surely I'd have the book signed within a year or two. My original goal was to complete my novel in July after my trip to Gettysburg. Mmm...yeah. Clearly that didn't happen. Right now I wanted to be chapters into the book's sequel. I haven't even begun a rough, bare-bones outline for it yet.

And you know what? I am more than okay with this. I am proud of the accomplishment that is a 111K word, 368 page historical novel. It needs edited, I already dread the thought of cutting something from it--but that is why I need a break until December before I launch into edits and beginning the sequel. God's grace is all-sufficient. It cannot become more or less grace. I need to unclench my hands to receive it, though. To leave my self-made burdens behind and go to Jesus and find His rest to replenish me. And this is a huge lesson for me in more aspects in my life than writing.

Looking back on the past two and a half years of writing this novel, I see so many high moments, and the lowest moments become high moments of learning and grace. When I first began the book, I was full of feverish excitement and inspiration after an eight week course on Pennsylvania's role in the Civil War. The class was what first gave me the idea to turn my originally one-book idea into a trilogy. As time went on and a stifling amount of historical research was compiled as this history nut is wont to do, I came to a crossroads during a block. I was probably over ten chapters into the book, and hadn't nearly crammed in everything I knew I needed to to get to The End. During my blocks/times of laziness/worry I tend to talk way more *about* writing than actually writing. And it's dear heart-sisters like Gabrielle who let me off the hook and gently suggested, "Why don't you split the book into two books? That way you wouldn't feel all the pressure of packing in four years of history into one book." Poof! Pressure gone. She also was the one awake at 1am MST as I was awake at 3am contemplating where on earth to take a character.

I cried while writing my ending Wednesday night. Never mind the fact that my last line wasn't quite the literal last one. Pictured below is what I scribbled down three different ways the next day at work. The original one line of dialogue wasn't enough closure for a true ending even though there is a sequel that picks up right after the first one ends. But it felt right to have my first ending be what it was, and then the next day I typed in what I had scribbled down at work. 

Just like this ongoing road to publication, the road to Amongst the Roses' ending is marked with low valleys, high mountains, and much grace.

Meghan M. Gorecki
Meghan M. Gorecki

Words, history, and grace color my days here in The Burgh where I seek out the perfect coffee and red lipstick.