Yesterday I wrote about my breakthrough Friday morning, when I skipped the part in the middle where I was stuck and wrote the ending to my novelette. (It’s a little more than 9,000 words, so it’s longer than a short story and shorter than a novella, so …)

I’m here to tell you that on Saturday morning, I sat down and wrote the part in the middle where I had been stuck. Except for the inevitable last-minute pre-publication tweaks, the story is finished.

It is the longest bit of fiction to cross my finish line since Talons of Justice, the last Myke Phoenix novelette, in 2014. Yes, I’ve written three times as many words for Jeep Thompson and the Lost Prince of Venus, but my long-suffering novel is not finished yet.

 Saturday was actually a very remarkable day. The mail brought my vinyl copy of Hackney Diamonds, the new Rolling Stones album, which taught me that 80-year-old men can rock and roll just fine. And in the evening I decided to watch Barbie and see what the fuss is all about, and I was blown away the same way I was blown away last year by Everything Everywhere All At Once. Until I can piece my exploded brain back together and process my thoughts, all I can offer there is OMFG.

How I feel about finishing the story is hard to explain. You’d think after a nine-year drought there would be some exhilaration, but it’s more like an exhausted relief. Maybe this is what a runner feels like at the end of their first 5k — I was going to say “marathon,” and then I was going to say “half marathon,” but face it, I just finished a 9,300-word novelette so it’s not like running 13 miles. On the other hand, maybe it’s how a runner feels after coming back from a long hiatus.

I’m dying to tell you more about the story, and no doubt I will in a few days. First I want to make sure this little Christmas present is wrapped up properly in an appropriate package. As Margaret Hamilton memorably said in a different context, these things must be done delicately.

But I’m pleased to report I behaved the way an author is supposed to behave when a project is completed. Young Jeep, who has been rattling around in my brain for several years now, walked up to me after I finished the story and said, “Congratulations, Warren, nicely done. Now me. Right? Now me.”

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