The book is now totally done, and all I have to do is change the file name to something that will make sense to people other than me and then e-mail it. It's a good thing it's done because the characters from the next project I plan to work on were already creeping into my brain while I was working. I've loved working on this book, but I'm eager to move on (of course, these characters will now probably start telling me what they could do next while I'm trying to write this other book).
I figured out exactly why my back's been hurting the way it is. Maybe I'm an oddball, but do you ever find yourself moving in sympathy (or frustration) when you're watching TV or a movie -- like you find yourself tensing up to run or shifting out of the way or trying to urge the character not to move or to move, as though the movie is a video game and you've got a full-body controller, or else like a prosthetic device where you can open and close a hand by tensing your upper arm muscles, only acting like you can control the characters by doing that? I found that I was doing that sort of thing while re-reading this book. I'd get my body all poised to move or run, but since I was sitting still that just meant tensing all my lower back muscles. When you're doing that for about four hours a day, the result is some pain. I hadn't even realized I was doing it until it started hurting, and then it hurt more whenever I did it, so I noticed it. I guess I was acting out the story without realizing it.
Now I'm planning to take a quasi-long weekend. I won't be actively writing, but I do have some work-type stuff to do, in addition to getting my life in order after burying myself in the book for the last couple of weeks. I still need to get to the grocery store because I found a can of evaporated milk in the cupboard to handle yesterday's tea emergency, and I've reached a frustrating situation where I'm lacking one key ingredient for every meal I've considered making. Then I may go to a movie this afternoon, depending on the weather. I have books to read, if I can decide which one goes first. And I may re-read what I've written so far and my notes on the next project so I can set my subconscious to work on it and be ready to get up and running Monday.
Meanwhile, possibly the most unexpected/unusual Google Alert: It was on a Star Wars fan fiction site, in an interview with someone who is apparently a prominent Star Wars fanfic writer. When listing her favorite things to read, she mentioned my series, the works of Jane Austen and the Harry Potter series (in that order). I'm in pretty good company there. You may have noticed that I'm a wee bit of a Star Wars fan, myself (since I use it all the time as an example or illustration when talking about writing). I never wrote Star Wars fanfic -- at least, never actually on paper/digital media. But I did daydream a lot of Star Wars scenarios, which is what got me started writing. Between the first two movies, I had to dream up a bunch of new characters to mentally continue the story, since Luke and good old Wedge were the only survivors of that squadron and I needed more squadron members to have a proper space battle. Then I realized I was focusing more on my new squadron members than I was on the existing characters, and then I realized that I could just eliminate the Star Wars stuff and it would be my own story, and that led to the grand epiphany that if I wrote down all these stories I made up in my head, I would have a book and I would be a writer, and that was what I wanted to do with my life. So, thanks for the shout-out, Star Wars fanfic writer. I feel like I've come full circle.