Finishing a Novel: What Happens When You’re Done
I recently wrapped up final edits on The Prison of Magic, so I thought this post was in order. From the moment you realize you’re almost done with your book to the weeks succeeding your final edit, you will face numerous obstacles and experience many conflicting emotions. That’s normal! I experienced most of the things described below as I edited my book, and all authors experience some if not all of these. Whether you’re reading this to see if you can relate or trying to understand what you can expect when you finish your own novel, I hope this post reminds you of what you can get from writing.
The Final Push
There’s a point right before you finish your novel when the end is in sight. You can see yourself wrapping up final edits next week. The only problem is, next week becomes the week after, because you realize you want to revise a chapter here and there. The cycle continues until you finally reread your manuscript and make no edits.
Actually, that moment never comes. No matter how many drafts or edits you make, you will always be uncertain about a sentence or two. And that’s okay. The important thing is sticking with your book until it is as good as you can make it, and then taking the initiative to say you’re done. After all, nobody else can make the call for you.
Joy, Pride, Anxiety, and Some Other Emotions
Let’s be honest: no matter how much you love your characters and your plot, you will be glad to not have to work on them all the time. Finally, you will be able to work on that other WIP idea that has been bothering you for so long. Or maybe you won’t have to avoid all other fun to stick to your hard deadlines.
Maybe you’ll scroll through the hundreds of pages you wrote and wonder how you had the dedication to write and rewrite so much. You may glance at your first draft and think about how you’ve grown since. You might be tempted to scream in joy or spill your heart out to every person you see, in which case, don’t be afraid to.
You’ll say goodbye to your characters (though not necessarily forever) with either a satisfied smile on your face or heartbroken tears streaming down your cheeks. You might wonder what will become of your world without you to watch over it. Importantly, you can always return to your book and story. You can write a sequel, spin-off, prequel, or short stories based on this novel.
What if nobody likes your writing? If this question is bothering you, don’t let it. If you love your story, someone else will. Maybe the vast majority of people won’t get as close to your characters as you, but there will be readers who fall in love with every last word you wrote. Your writing has the power to change someone’s life. Don’t be afraid to share it with the world.
But You’re Not Done
You have a finished manuscript in front of you. Now what? If you thought you were done and never had to look at it again, you were wrong. If you plan on getting it published, there’s a rocky road ahead.
Traditional publishing requires querying and dealing with the demands of editors, agents, and publishers. Self-publishing requires designing your own cover and working on your own copyright. Either way, you will have to market your book. Before any of that, you have to format your manuscript according to industry standards. There is no easy way out.
That doesn’t mean you give up. You put in hundreds of hours of typing, spent years imagining, and sacrificed your search history for this book. You can push through some more work.
Take a break, let yourself celebrate, and then get back to work. I wish you the best of luck!
Finishing The Prison of Magic put a smile on my face for days, one even the thought of the publishing process couldn’t wipe off my face. It is undoubtedly my life’s biggest accomplishment thus far. Somehow, all my disconnected ideas and random scenes came together to form a full blown novel. All the days of writer’s block and weeks of revision were worth it.
Have you ever finished a novel? Let me know in the comments!