On Finishing (Or Not)

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All Whedon fans can sob with me now.

Family and friends who know I’m a writer ask how the book is coming.  “Is it done yet?” (Usually followed by “when’s it coming out?”)

Tricky question.  By my count, I’ve finished this novel three times now.

The first time was in November of last year. I’d taken a NaNoWriMo story from a couple years before, put research and work into it, and a few drafts later I had a 65,000 word novel I felt good about.  I took a photo of the words “The End” that day because I was Done. The book was finished, and couldn’t imagine needing to add a single thing to it.

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I was so naive.

I started querying the book, and a good round of querying later realized that no, this book wasn’t finished.  Not in the least.  After some good feedback I gave it another couple rounds of editing, and expanded it another thousand words or so, and declared it done again.  66,000 words.  Excellent.

Nope.

Cue a massive rewrite that took up most of the summer.  Added in whole character arcs and story elements.  78,000 words and I took another photo.

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Done? Maybe?

For the third time in a year, the novel’s done.  Until it (hopefully) ends up with an agent and/or publisher.  And then there will be more rewrites.  And edits.

In conclusion: please quit asking your writer friend if the book’s done yet. Unless you want to see crying.

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