It’s a funny thing, to consider whether a book is ever ‘done’. When I started writing 22 Scars over ten years ago (tentatively titled A Gothic Symphony back then), I really didn’t know what I was doing. I just had an idea for a story about a depressed teenage girl, and sat down to write it. What happened after that was never a real, conscious thought. I never considered there being an ‘end’ in sight.
Last year, when I finally made myself finish the manuscript that had been lingering in a pseudo-existential hell for almost a decade, I only had one goal in mind: write the final word. By then, I had some practice at finishing manuscripts with my Redemption of Erâth series, having already written, edited and published two full-length novels. So I knew it could be done; I just didn’t know how to write something so utterly, completely different from high fantasy.
In the end, I was able to finish the first draft in only a few months. My fantasy writing was showing, because it was over 100,000 words, and had way too many scenes for the story I was telling. It took a long time after that to work on editing it; cutting paragraphs, scenes and entire chapters was difficult; letting go of characters was even harder. It wasn’t until November that I was finally ready to send it to my editor for real destruction.
I also decided to publish the manuscript as it was at the time, and surprisingly got some pretty good reviews and feedback off it. However, when I got the edits back, I realized it still wasn’t ready. More cuts, more changes, more edits.
But now … now I’ve implemented every change my editor suggested, cut every scene that wasn’t needed, and killed off every character that deserved to die (metaphorically, of course). The manuscript is a lean, mean 71,000 words and packs a tight punch. It’s on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kindle and iBooks, and … well, I think I’m done.
What does that mean? Is the story perfect? Probably not. But it does mean that, for the foreseeable future, I won’t be making any further changes to it. You might like it, you might hate it, but it is what it is.
Now, of course, I have to direct my attention to marketing it, selling it, and getting people to read it. That in itself is a difficult prospect, but it just feels … strange, to consider that something so monumental in my life is actually complete. What do I do next? Where do I go from here?
The good news is, I have some ideas …