Act III or ‘The Victory Lap’

There is a game I like to play in my head.  Its something I do to battle exhaustion at times when it really matters—when I’ve got to keep going just a little bit longer.  Mostly I play when I’m running.  I’ll have put in four grueling miles, sometimes more, and I know I’m a mile from home.  Though I can barely breathe I’ll shout into the little microphone on my earbuds “Hey Siri, play _______.”  If she understands me through my grunts and groans she complies with my request, then I lower my head and think:

This is the victory lap.

Of course its not.  I haven’t made it to the end yet.  Instead its an assertion to myself that I’m going to.  Really I don’t have any choice.  I have to get home one way or another, and after such a hard fought battle with the pavement there is no way in hell I’m going to walk it.  So I smile and bear the pain and all of a sudden my feet feel lighter.  Often times I pick up the pace, practically dancing to the imaginary finish line as I wait anxiously for the voice on my Nike app to announce that I’ve passed the five mile mark.

Ironically, once I’m done there isn’t an actual victory lap.  Instead I enjoy a well-deserved walk the last few blocks to my front door and revel in the accomplishment of getting out there yet again.

But it isn’t just running.  I do this with other things as well.  The last two weeks before our wedding?  That was the victory lap.  The moment our mortgage was officially funded three weeks before closing on our house?  Victory lap.  The last one or two weeks of summer camp every year for the last decade?  The ultimate victory lap.  Its a personal tradition.

And now, I am so incredibly excited to announce that TEORG has entered the victory lap phase.  When I set my lofty goal back in December to finish the first draft of my manuscript by January 25, it seemed like an almost impossible dream.  After all, I started this project in August of 2009.  Having an actual projected completion date—especially such an ambitious one—was utter insanity.  I wanted it to be real, but it didn’t feel real—not then.  After all, we still had all of our Christmas travel to contend with and I was worried about clearing that holiday hurdle.

But the holidays passed and normal life resumed.  I hit the ground running just over a week ago and I haven’t looked back.  Since January 4, I have cranked out two and a half chapters and a whopping 16,000 words.  Now I’ve got four and a half chapters to go and just under two weeks until the 25th.  There is no way in hell I’m not finishing.  This dream of completing the manuscript is about to become a reality.  Commence the greatest goddamned victory lap of my entire life!

So what am I working on?  Where is the story going?  Thanks for asking!

This Friday I’m going to post Chapter Seventeen, which is the last chapter of Part 2.  Ryan’s metamorphosis will finally be complete and I hope you’ll be just as disgusted with him as he is with himself.  Maybe you’ll also feel a bit sorry for him—that would be both acceptable and appropriate.  Without giving too much away bridges will be burning.  Hell, bridges are going to explode—

But for me that was all last Tuesday.  Your generic high school English teacher would tell you that what I’m writing now is called the falling action.  Its the aftermath and the hope of redemption.

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Revenge is better with a side of bacon. . . 

Its Act III.

Of course there is one more climactic scene to come.  I haven’t written it yet.  Its waiting for me at the end of Chapter Twenty-Two.  By this time next week I could be there, or just about.  The one thing that is truly and undeniably certain is that two weeks from right now, I’ll have already written ‘The End.’

Of course ‘The End’ isn’t ‘The End,’ really.  It just means I get to start over at Chapter One (which is probably getting a serious overhaul) and revise, revise, revise!  Stephen King recommends a second draft should equal the first draft minus ten percent.  Thats going to be tough for me, but hey—omit needless words.

I’m hoping the second draft will take no more than a month.  By the beginning of March I’d like to be shopping around for an agent.  After that, assuming I can land one—

The sky is the limit.  Looking for a publisher?  That’ll be a whole other kind of victory lap.

I’d like to end this post by saying something I’ve said before, but which I cannot say enough.  I want to thank you for coming with me on this journey.  The first part is so close to the end, and really I don’t think I could have made it here without so much love and support.  I’ll save the ‘Oscar Speech’ for when this tome finally makes it to print, but if you’ve been reading every week, or every couple of weeks, or even just hitting ‘like’ every time one of my posts pops up on FaceBook—thank you.  You’ve carried me through.

Now please excuse me while I put my head down and bear the pain.  My fingers are feeling lighter and I think I see the finish line—

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