There are about a bajillion sports metaphors I could use right now – it all comes down to the fourth quarter, the final set, the last two minutes – to parallel the ending of my time with the Mark Program. All good things must come to an end. Yesterday, we had our final reviews for our projects and it was a fitting way to wrap up the six months I spent with my novel in solitude.
There were laughs (by all) and tears (by me). No longer will I worry about the worthiness of my biweekly rewrites or if I'm on track with the objectives established for finishing my novel. No longer will I have the benefit of so many pairs of eyes closely reading each change in my novel, judging if it was the right move or the wrong move. No longer will I shake my fist at the literary gods in exasperation when someone points out the obvious in my own writing. It all comes down to this: the final comments on what the novel needs in order to be the kind of novel people will read and remember. Am I going to leave it all on the page or am I going to take the easy way out by drifting off into oblivion?
The answer to that question is what I learned in this program: you get one shot to leave it all on the page, to make the most of words and white space, so make it count. It’s all got to lead up to the “money shot” which was so eloquently stated by our instructor, Al Watt. The next few months will be my last chance to make everything right on the page. This is the time when I must absolutely honor the commitment to write this novel as best as I can and to honor those who helped me make it the best novel that I could write.
So, thank you, Carl Peel and Shanna Mahin for your camaraderie and your honesty, workshop after workshop. Thank you, Libby Flores, for your smart and deep reading of my work. Thank you, Marytza Rubio, for your sweet and encouraging feedback even after the program has finished. Thank you, Al Watt, for your probing questions and your guidance because I wouldn’t have come this far without you. Thank you, Samantha Dunn, for your humor, your intelligent and remarkable advice, and for taking me to Norm’s. And lastly, thank you, readers, for tuning in each week to my posts that basically said I didn’t know anything about writing twenty different ways.
Off I go into the sunset to write the money shot. So long, Marksters, and don’t forget to write the good write.