I have not yet published a book. I have not yet revised my draft into a form ready to be sent to an editor. Heck, to be honest, I never finished my first draft! Technically I did “win” NaNoWriMo Camp in August, by passing the finish line with 50,000+ words, but I never wrote a final chapter for my story. I stopped abruptly as it was reaching a climax, and I have not added to it since then. However, this does not stop me from thinking about what the future might be like after my novel reaches an audience.
In my mind, I picture myself getting asked to speak to groups about my characters and the world I created for them. I imagine that fans have created a wiki where they can catalog all the details spelled out in my narrative, and they can collaborate on speculating about the parts I merely implied. They ask me to comment on their work, telling them what they got right and correcting them where I think they missed my intent. We share an interest in understanding how my fictional universe works, and enjoy filling in the backstory and projecting where it might lead.
I do not picture myself going on promotional tours. If anything, I am a recluse. I do not want to be famous, at least not under my own name. I don’t want people to know where I live, but I will gladly create a virtual identity for the public to interact with me. I want people to be talking about the ideas in my book, not about me.
After my book is in circulation, I might not ever write a second one. Perhaps I will blog or write articles or have essays published in magazines. I will add ‘writer’ to my list of jobs I have done, and move on to something else, because that’s what I’ve always done. Writing was not my life’s calling, not something I grew up striving to achieve. It’s something I wanted to try, to see whether or not I could do it, but not something I felt compelled to do. With an attitude like that, it’s entirely possible that I won’t ever publish a second novel because the first one will never be complete.
And yet, the world I created for my first draft intrigues me. It nags at me to be explored and refined. It’s the reason I fantasize about the wiki instead of the income, the details instead of the dollars. With idle moments of drifting thoughts, I am collaborating with my future self on the novel, filling in the blanks and adding details for the characters to interact with. Without writing anything down, I am still writing my novel. If it’s not considered cheating, I would like to rewrite the same novel for NaNoWriMo in November. I can’t wait to see how that last chapter turns out!