I did it!
As promised to myself last week on this blog, I gave myself the time to rewrite the final chapter of my book In the shade of the mulberry tree.
I cut it fine (yes, it was yesterday afternoon...and early evening...) but with a little determination and only a small amount of procrastination on twitter (ahem!) I managed to forge out 1666 words. New words. Well, largely traditional words strung out in a new order. But nevertheless, the basis of a final chapter was put together.
It does raise more questions, of course. How should I end the book?
A: Drinking G&Ts in the glow of the setting African sun?
B: Getting on the plane back to the UK?
C: Discussing plans for the year ahead with my husband?
D: Getting on the plane back to Zambia?
E: All of the above? Or none?
Looking back at that list I realise that I can't be doing both B and D at the same time; nor either with A, perhaps. Everyone always speaks about how difficult it is to get the first chapter right - and it is, for it has to hook the reader, never mind the publisher and agent! - but ending is also important. It is the final feeling you have as you put a book down. Do you want to be sad or happy? Despairing or hopeful? Immediately want more, or to have space to think about issues that have been raised?
As my tale isn't miserable but is, I hope, thought-provoking, I think a bit of warm sun will have to sneak in somewhere. And I enjoy chatting with my husband (no really, honestly: I do!) So now all I have to do is turn those draft 1666 words into something that makes more coherent sense, something with fewer adverbs (obviously!) and something that sums up the essence of my first year living in Zambia.
Perhaps you'll have to come back next week...