10. The internet has become boring. Google Reader is empty. As is your email.
9. You can't find a use for twitter or facebook.
8. Trips to the library now require a wheelbarrow instead of just a carrier bag. And books get returned on time, too.
7. Your house has never been so clean. Look, nothing under the carpets!
6. Your TV is strangely clean and the DVR is empty.
5. All those friends who were so eager to distract you during the writing of the final chapters have suddenly disappeared. no one seems to have openings in their schedules but you.
4. You can't decide if you are severely depressed or overjoyed.
3. You second guess your revisions, and think that maybe you'll just go back and change this one thing. And six hours later, you ended up changing several chapters, merging two characters into one, and changing the name of the main character to "Paul".
2. You look at a stack of six books and think, 'Eh. Done by tomorrow night. Easy.'
And the number one sign you've just completed a novel is:
1. You open up a brand-spanking new Word file to start a new novel and and are as happy as a clam. Until you write the first sentence and then it all starts over again!
YES! I'VE FINISHED MY FIRST NOVEL!
Well... it's as finished as I can make it. Jess has returned it with her helpful edits and i've worked out all of her suggestions and fixes and now It's off to five lovely people who wanted to be first readers and help me out by marking up their first responses and reactions.
There will be another round of editing and then i'll be officially officially done. I hope anyway. Someone might find something terribly wrong and I might have to scrap the whole thing. I think that's called frogging? Silly words. I hope my words arn't silly.
People say that first novels are the author working through all of their issues. I can see quite a lot of my own issues in this novel (dead mother being the glaringly obvious one) but I hope they are issues that strike something in someone else as well. I'm not expecting much out of this novel, but it's a big part of me.
I think finishing a novel is harder than starting one. Sure, finding an idea and developing it and spending months, years even, to get it all down on paper sure is a tough feat, but tying up those loose ends, fleshing out ideas, fixing plot holes, organizing, making sure you don't reveal too much too soon, making sure you reveal enough to keep the reader interested, keeping pace, keeping interest, and keeping your own sanity is harder. I've spent a ton of time reading and re-reading my novel to find holes, make sure the dates line up (I had one girl giving birth at age 11), and keeping up with who was related to who and how and how all those little teeny tiny things you add to make the story richer add up.
So now it's on to officially starting a second novel. This one is as good as I can get it for now.
I feel so inadequate.