Finishing a novel, Vacation, Birthday & a Six!

Greetings Atomic mates. I didn’t get chance to make a Six last week for my serial I. They. Evolve., nor this week, even though I’m currently on day 10 of a 12 day vacation from work. I’ve spent the time finishing my novel, and am pleased to report it’s done πŸ™‚ It’s hard to describe the feeling of finishing a piece of work that clocks in at 108 thousand words and has taken a good year and half to write. The best I can describe it right now – relief, a natural high, an accomplishment, a crashing over the line of an epic long-distance race in which you’ve stayed focused and kept going during the highs and lows and hurdles.

Truth is, once a novel is finished, it isn’t… because there follows then the final edits, polishing, and if you’re looking to get published the traditional way then there is a synopsis to write, an elevator pitch, a covering letter and researching the most suitable agents for your work. I’m fortunate that I love the editing process, for me the edit is the true art and skill of writing which follows that initial burst of creativity and development. I’m fortunate too that I edit frequently, so I know there are many chapters already ‘pitch perfect’. As for the synopsis… agghhhhhhhh, pain, hurt, misery and sleepless nights! I hate the synopsis part.

Some say writing a novel can be a lonely business… hours spent hunched over a desk, not seeing anybody, not going out , not eating correctly, becoming pale and spotty and cranky, drinking too much caffeine… and I would completely agree πŸ™‚ But it can never be a truly lonely business really, not when you are in the company of such rich characters and in situations and landscapes as hopefully you have brilliantly created!

So, the novel, it’s done, yipeee, but still work to be done.

For my entry this week I decided to use the ‘Find’ function of MS Word and see how many times the prompt word of ‘island’ featured in my finished novel, and if I could scramble a Six together. Out of 108K words it appeared just five times. So this week I present my Six as an adapted extract from the novel. It features the main character, Iris, as she comes to terms with her connection to a library she has discovered in a lighthouse. It doesn’t have a title of course, so I’ll name it ‘All the Books’ for the purposes of this week’s Six and the prompt word ‘Island’

All the Books

She giggles, and tilts her head to read the spines of the faded covers and peeling jackets, and she yips in delight at her recognition of the tomes plucked from their wooden shelves. Her eyes skip and cartwheel and gambol across the pages at the countless words in ink, not unlike black treasure spread upon sails gathered from the masts of floundered ships. Is she rich now beyond her wildest dreams, is she wealthy with leisure at her castaway status – with all these dear books? Gulliver’s Travels and Robinson Crusoe and Moby Dick and Treasure Island… but of course, old friends at the ends of the earth, where the sea can be heard crashing on rocks. Then, Turn of the Screw and Dracula, and Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, and Frankenstein and 1984, Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Famished Road, Blood Meridian, Of Mice and Men, A Clockwork Orange, Lord of the Flies, The Call of the Wild and A Good Man is Hard to Find. She dreams, yes, but never does she sleep, for what use is sleep when there is so much to read.

It wasn’t all writing during my vacation (but mostly it was lol), I managed to finish reading two novels I had on the go and watch Blade Runner 2049. It’s my birthday today too, so later I’m going to eat lots of cake and have two Belgium blondes.

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

Lighthouse painting – Neapolitan-Lighthouse. Ivan Aivanovsky.1842.

Bonus question: Out of the list of books which Iris discovers in ‘All the Books’ (there are 20), how many of them have you read?


  1. Hours spent hunched over a desk, not seeing anybody, not going out , not eating correctly, becoming pale and spotty and cranky, drinking too much caffeine…? Sounds like the life of a lightsaber designer!
    But on a serious note Many Happy Returns! I stopped celebrating my birthdays when I had a party during which the local Pompiers were called out when my birthday cake was wheeled in due to the number of candles causing a fire risk!
    Finally congrats on finishing your latest page turner, I am still way behind in writing my Star Wars “backstory”. I started writing and had a neat story (so I thought) but whilst I was about halfway through a real author released his Star Wars novel and it shared elements almost identical to my story so I shelved mine . I never got back to working on it.

    Anyhoo…enjoy the rest of your BIG DAY and the remainder of your vacation, if anyone deserves it after this past 18 months it would be you. MTFBWY.

    p.s. Blade Runner 2049 is good isn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, you’re right, FT, that description could go for just about any of the creative arts involving standing or sitting for long periods! My record stint last week was 17 hours, stopping just to eat and drink!

      Thanks for the birthday greets! Yesterday was awesome πŸ™‚
      Blade Runner 2049 was excellent. It had some critics I know, but I loved the atmosphere, visuals and tone, totally absorbing film!


  2. Many, many congratulations on finishing your novel, Ford! πŸŽ‰πŸ˜΅πŸΎ Ah, but now the polishing part, weighing the words, nuancing the phrases… I like that part too! Bleh the blurb and the synopsis though.
    A library in a lighthouse? “…what use is sleep when there’s so much to read.” – loving it already. I can’t wait to read it.
    I’ve read 12 of those books (Rebecca and The Handmaid’s Tale twice). Enjoy the rest of your hols…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Chris 😊 So pleased to have got over the finish line and can now concentrate on getting it ready to send out.
      Rebecca I love, and I namecheck it a good dozen times throughout my novel, along with the Hitchcock film version, plus one of my main characters is named Du Maurier 😎.
      I read the Handmaid’s Tale about 8 years back for the first time, and was bowled over – my first introduction to the wonderful writing of M. Atwood.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, the loneliness of the long distance runner…
    Many many congratulations for reaching the finish line!! ( yet another part starts, some creative and some awful, awful. 🀣)

    And may your spirit remain young, your whisky old and your creativity…undead!
    Happy happy birthday mate!
    Enjoy as much as you can!πŸŽ‚πŸ»

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What use sleep, indeed πŸ™‚ Wonderful Six, V. It drums up much anticipation for your forthcoming novel –
    Congratulations!! A most awesome accomplishment 😎

    In my time zone it’s still your birthday, V so HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Hope you enjoyed lots of cake and those two Belgiums.
    Books, movies…yup, you’ve got some good vacationing goin on. Enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay, thanks D 😊 Awesome I get some birthday greets from different time zones 😎 I ended up having three Belgiums, which my head slightly regretted this morn… thank goodness for the medicinal powers of coffee!
      I watched Mystic River last night for the first time. Pretty hard-hitting fine film.
      And thanks for the congrats on finishing the novel, I’m still chuffed I did it 😎

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow! Congrats on that phase finished with the novel.
    Happy birthday! And by Belgium blondes I am thinking beer… either way, have fun, responsibly of course.
    Your Six put me in mind of a Ray Bradbury short story, only because of the lighthouse, the one where a sea monster thinks the foghorn is a romantic call.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ms Avery. Such a good feeling to get to the end. Aiee, yes, Belgium blondes of the 7% and chilled variety, and of course in moderation (mostly). The birthday was fab, thank you.
      Ray Bradbury lighthouse… always something very romantic and pen-worthy about a lighhouse I think.


  6. Congrats on the rare pleasure of typing ‘The End’ to a full on novel.

    Well-deserved rest, fer sure. Because, as you mention, along the continuing path… the dreaded Synopsis!!

    ayyiiee (Count me among those who view the ‘In two pages or less (12pt Times Roman) tell us all about the book you have’ with fear and loathing. lol)

    (You kinda want to say, ‘Uh, did you miss my mention of the word count of 100k plus in the beginning of the email?!’)

    Enjoyed the Six this week. Excellent selection of readage.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Birthday greetings but total admiration for finishing your book, which of course allowed you to take a novel approach (boom, tish) to your Six. If I ever write one I’m stealing that idea. btw I’d add the Grapes of Wrath to that list and anything by Cormac McCarthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on finishing the novel, and yes, from what I read of your work, I’m sure there is quite much of pitch perfect, as it stands. Onward and upward!
    Happy belated birthday, and 17/20, but most were read long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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