Yesterday, late, at night (okay, it was really morning, technically speaking), I finished a book. It's my boxer book, tentatively called "Counterpunch" and it stands as a - very - rough draft at 54k.
And it's a thing of beauty. Of course authors are supposed to say that. Partly because we'd never admit to ourselves (or anybody, for that matter) that some books are better than others or that we have doubts if something works. In a way, admiting to doubts makes stuff real. Denying them is a bit like "if I don't see it, nobody will!" and then reviewers don't pick up on it and we go "whew, s/he missed it", and relax, until a better reviewer or a less polite one points out exactly that and why the king is naked.
But regardless of "what's done" and "not done" as a writer, I think "Counterpunch" is the best thing I've ever done, hands down. In part it's because I'm now a better writer than I was even last year. In part also because "Counterpunch" came out in one piece and it's almost perfect. The structure works, the pacing works, the individual scenes work, and the characters work. It's not what I expected it to be - it's what I hoped it would be.
I pushed Brook and his story away a few times and had a rather unpleasant two weeks where I didn't do anything on the text. I hemmed and hawed and freaked out over things like British stories at American publishers (I struggle hard to rewrite something into "American" that's set in Britain and hence written in British English), then I freaked out over royalty rates and release schedules, which led me to partner up with a new publisher who basically makes a lot of effort to please me. Royalties, cover, editing, and "red carpet treatment" inclusive. Contract terms look very favourable to this writer, and I've signed a fair few contracts by now.
The idea is to try several models, several publishers and then narrow things down to the places I really love (and pay me good royalties). More once I've actually submitted the story and have signed the contract.
Back to the book. Currently I'm mentally and emotionally completely drained (and should have taken the three days between the long weekends off, really, to recover from my 16k-in-four-days writing binge), but I'll look into making the usual changes and begin editing.
That means typos and "line editing" stuff, then a Brit check (because some of my phrasing is pretty American, and that's just wrong for this book) - I already have two volunteers lined up for that), and then a final line edit and style check from a seriously hardcore beta.
Then submission, wait, contract check, signing on the dotted line. I'm looking at a November release, hopefully. But in the meantime I'll bask in what I think is a job well done - and I'll hope you agree with me once you've read it.