I've finally, finally finished it! After nearly four years, 170,000 words, 363 pages, umpteen rewrites, today I actually got to hold a printed copy in my hand. And yes, it felt every bit as good as I hoped it would!
I also feel like I'm suddenly got my life back even though I know I'm going to miss it terribly.
So what's next?
Reading, reading and more reading! I'm a serial reader of Tolkien canon but these last nine months, since I started posting A of A weekly, I've hardly read anything and I really miss the 'real' M-e. First up is a quick run through the Sil before returning to HoME. I've not read any of the 'First Book of Lost Tales' or the 'Lays' and have only dipped into 'The Lost Road' and 'The Shaping of M-e'. I can't wait to get stuck in, though I don't mind admitting that some of it can be fairly heavy going so I'll be catching up on some fics as well. I'm still going to need the occasional Aragorn fix!
And I'll certainly be doing more writing in due course but I do need a break. I felt very driven to write A of A. I don't feel that same complusion for my other WIP - well not yet! I don't want to return to Elrond's story until I've finished HoME. After writing the first three chapters. I then found one line in 'The War of the Jewels' which threw doubt on my interpretation of when Elrond left the care of Maglor. I'd rather find out these things first!
'In the Dark Places' is a long Aragorn and Halbarad in Moria tale, also with only three chapters written. This is very stationary at the moment. Increasing I find I'm drawn to Tuor's tale. There is so much there to get your teeth into. Ryan's despair puts Gilraen's in the shade. How does Annael explain her abandonment of him as a baby? He's a slave at just 16 years yet befriends the guards' dogs and escapes, but how does he cope spending the next four years alone? He's the first man to see the sea, and what about meeting Ulmo! Wow, how scary was that! Then he nearly dies on the way to Gondolin yet rapidly rises in honour to marry the king's daughter. And during the fall of the city, he personally slays Maeglin. What a challenge that would be to write. Then there's the escape through the tunnel and the attack by orcs and the balrog before he finally leads the survivors to the Havens and eventually sails off - to where exactly?
Gosh, I might just be talking myself into writing that one! One thing's for sure, I'm not going to be bored any time in the next few decades!