Yesterday, I finished the book I was working on. I sped like all hell through the final conflict and the resolution, typed up a scene I'd pictured taking an entire night in about half an hour, and closed things up with a tiny spark of hope in an otherwise downer ending. I saved the file, closed it, and determined that no one would ever read that thing.
It's a weird thing, to finish a book and be utterly done with it. This is the first time it's happened to me. Most of the other books I've written, when I finished, I was utterly enthusiastic about them, all too eager to start editing and give them to friends for beta-reading.
But this book? This hundred and three thousand words of a month-long learning experience? No. I'm done with it. Utterly and completely. I've finally proven to myself that the idea behind it, that I could apply a plot to an old slice-of-urban fantasy life series I did, will not work. I've accepted that I captured a certain way of writing a character two years ago and further attempts feel like pale imitations. I've come to understand that an 80-minute DDR megamix is not ideal music for writing any kind of tension.
Okay, that last one is kind of situational. But hey, at least I learned it.
Toward the end, when I knew I was going to dump this book as soon as I finished it, I found myself in an odd state. Writing something I knew would never exist outside my own computer felt very foreign. I knew what I was writing didn't matter. But I kept at it, because I knew if I didn't, I'd always wonder if it could have turned out better, if I could have saved it. Now, I know.
I'm relieved in a lot of ways. Writing is usually a draining experience for me, but it's not supposed to be a stressful one. When sitting down to write becomes a chore, it's a sign something is wrong. I never had trouble once I sat down, it was getting myself to sit down that was the problem. And I think we all know that a lack of desire to write leads to crappy writing. So finishing that last page, writing those last few words, was a huge weight off my shoulders.
For now, I plan to relax for a week, and make the final preparations for Dragon*Con. Then, I'm going to spend a month or so giving Skyborne another good hard thwack with the Editing Stick, since I haven't gone over it in several months. Then, I'm going to start on one of my other two plotted books. I expect either one of them will go better, as I've had them planned out for quite a bit longer than the thing I just wrote, and it's when I know the plot and characters intimately that I do my best work.
Soon, it will once again be time to start writing and see how it goes. I'm already looking forward to it.