Today I put the last sentence to my last chapter of my new book, CHOSEN. So I’m finished, right?
I’m in the terrible limbo state of having, “completed my book to the best of my ability given the time constraints imposed on me by a) a deadline and b) my inability to get my arse in gear for great swathes of it.” Part of me is glad I’ve reached this point, but an even bigger side of me is filled with dread.
Because now I’m in the terrible situation where I have to let somebody else look at my work. And that, for me at least, is never easy.
I like to write in a bubble. I like to close myself off from the real world and write my books without having to tell anyone “what the new one’s about,” or any of that stuff. In fact, before CHOSEN, I’d never let my editor or agent see any of the book I was currently working on until it was ‘finished’. But with the first book of a new series I got the jitters half way through and needed some reassurance I was not setting out on a path that was ultimately doomed.
So today I put the last few words down, saved the file, attached it to emails to my agent and editor, and finally plucked up the courage to hit the SEND button. And now I have to wait.
And when they do respond, I know the really hard work will have to start: I’ll have to face the fact that my toils over the last months have not resulted in a perfect story. I’ll have to take on board suggestions and advice that will knock it into shape and improve it, and ultimately, I’ll have to change things that I might not want to. And at the end of that I’ll be ‘finished’ again. Of course, then there are line edits…
And the thing I now know (that I didn’t realise with my earlier books) is this: the book is NEVER finished. There are aspects of it that you’ll always wish you’d done differently, sections you would love to rewrite, errors your loving fans have spotted that you want to correct. So when an author next tells you that they’ve finished their latest book, look them straight in the eye and ask them, “Really?”