Broken Headlights

An interesting thing happened on the way to “the end”…

I didn’t type it.

I finished the novella “Headlights” Monday night. It went exactly where I thought it was going to go. I loved the last line (I have a thing about that—if I don’t love that line, I won’t turn it in!). Shut the laptop and went to bed.

And while getting comfortable in bed (read as: beating the pillows into submission and sticking that one leg out of the blankets just so), I realized I hadn’t written “the end” before I shut the laptop. I drifted off to sleep with a “hmmm” buzzing around the back of my mind, but mostly I was thinking about dinosaurs (that’s a whole different blog—ask me some time).

Yesterday morning I got up, had some coffee, ignored MS Word—after all, I had finished and I was in “walk-away for a couple days” mode. Then I remembered I hadn’t typed that definitive pair of words. Those words all writers adore. So with my first cup of coffee I pondered why. Was I too tired? Did I just forget? I started thinking about the ending—replaying it in my mind. And then I realized what happened.

I had forgotten the fingers on the keyboard aren’t actually mine to control. That evil, tattered, good-for-nothing, flighty, two-faced muse is in charge. And she knew better than to write those words.

Sure, she smiled at the ending but she knew it wasn’t done.

Sometime during the day job, she tapped my shoulder. “Ohhh… okay,” was all I said. I know better than to interrupt her. So I listened.

And last night I went in and added that scene she was so eager to see fleshed out on the page rather than just buzzed into my ear.

Then I followed the normal path of things. I reread the ending several times. I smiled at the last line. And then I typed “the end.”

I’ve been blessed to be able to type those words twice in two weeks. I love those two words. So now “Headlights” is done. All that’s left to do is let the pre-readers tell me why it sucks. Fix what they complain about. Then send it off to the publisher…

And then call my dad to apologize. Of course, I’ll probably do that again when it comes out, just so he remembers which one I’m apologizing for…

“For Dad…” (you’ll have to wait for the release to see the rest of the dedication)

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