My target dates did work. I didn’t hit them all exactly as planned, but they kept me in the ballpark. I finished the last chapter today, right on the target date I set. I hit the bullseye!
Except of course, that a writing project is never really finished. Not really.
I still need to format the manuscript (which means figuring out how to do that in Scrivener for the first time) and proof it. I need to change a character’s name (to protect the guilty).
I will make several editing passes: to check the consistency of minor characters’ dialogue, to confirm every scene is grounded in specific sensory details, to add more distiller’s lingo and catch phrases (like “doubled and twisted”), to seek and destroy extraneous modifiers, and a few other passes I’m sure I’ll think of later.
The precise line between finishing this rewrite and starting the ‘clean-up’ revision is a bit fuzzy.
But once I cross that line, I can send the rewrite to my beta readers. (If you love soft science fiction and want to be a beta reader, please let me know. I have two or three openings.)
When I get feedback from my readers, I’ll do another, and hopefully final, revision consisting of several rounds of tweaks, edits and polishing. My novel will be ready to send into the world.
But it still won’t be finished.
What happens next will depend on whether I go with a traditional royalty publisher or self-publish. Either way, I’ll work with an editor and a copy editor. There will be galleys, proofs, cover art, flap copy, and on and on.
And even then it won’t be finished.
Once I hold my baby, snuggled in a provocative onsie of a cover, in my loving arms, it will be, sigh, time to gear up for promoting my baby.
So. Even though it’s not really, really finished, I declare this rewrite complete. Cue the confetti, cheers and champagne. Shouldn’t there be a mirror ball trophy or a new car or something? No? Well, it’s not really finished anyway.
Except, it really is.
IT IS FINISHED!