The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud is now, theoretically, done. Ready to publish.
Sense of satisfaction: check.
Pride in one’s achievement: check.
Panicky kind of sick kind of feeling: oh yes big check.
I could submit it tonight. I could submit it right now! It’s just sitting there, waiting, and yet there could be mistakes in there, there could be–no, no, I just have to trust myself, I have to trust my process. The cover is done. The blurb is done. The three edits and two TTS proofs are done. Everything is done. There are likely some mistakes still in there, an estimated four and a half mistakes, going by my (admittedly fairly shaky) “For every mistake you spot there’s one you miss” assumption.
I started this project February 15th, almost exactly two months ago. I haven’t worked exclusively on Imogen Shroud since then, I’ve written and outlined some of Power Play and did quite a lot of editing on Miya Black III and faffed around with other projects, but it would be fair to say that The Undying Apathy Of Imogen Shroud has been my focus for these past two months. Two months. Two months and a week ago not even a trace of this book existed, not even the glimmer of an idea, I don’t even remember what sparked it off, probably just an errant thought, “I should do something with zombies, maybe about a girl and her little brother, she has to protect him as they try to get home”, something like that. And then I sat down and wrote the initial notes, in ‘Zombie Story Notes.txt’–in fact, here’s the first paragraph of my initial notes:
Teenage girl and her younger brother, away from their home when it happens–knocked out by something–YES perfect they’re trapped inside a building that collapses, she’s hurt? Maybe, doesn’t matter, anyway, they have to get out EXCEPT it’s not just the collapsed building that’s dangerous, it’s that everyone killed during the event–storm possibly–is reanimated as a zombie.
Things have changed since I wrote that! I didn’t even have Imogen’s name then, she was just ‘teenage girl’. But basically that’s it, that’s the germ that grew into the 120,000 word book I now (kind of) hold in my hands. To me this is the most amazing thing about writing, that in such a tiny space of time you can create something that feels so solid from essentially nothing. It’s like magic. Two months and a week ago no trace of this existed. Now it’s a book.
There’s something special about a first-in-series, too. No rules have been written, there’s no history to worry about, all the characters are fresh, there’s no previous-book-baggage, you’ve got a blank story slate to scrawl on. If something isn’t working you can just scrap it–whereas with a series there are certain things you need to include, issues you need to deal with, baggage that needs to be handled, characters that demand attention, it’s a lot more work to figure all of that out, is what I’m saying. First-in-series, though … so much potential. So exciting.
But now I’m just distracting myself. Decision time. What else can I do with this book? I could do another proofing run, but I don’t think that’d help much–at this point, I’d just be fiddling. Probably there are sentences in the book that could do with tightening, paragraphs that don’t flow as well as they could, words that aren’t quite right, and I’d be surprised if there aren’t a couple of typos/errors still in existence among those 120,000 words, but the story’s there, the characters are there, the plot is there, the cover’s done …
Yep, it’s time to publish.
Good luck, Pond.