As I near the end of this first pass at my latest book, I’m thinking about what it means to be finished. I’ll be done with this stage of the process in a few weeks, but I won’t be finished.
After this pass I’ll let the words rest a bit, and then go back and make another pass. That second pass is where I will (hopefully) fix all of the inconsistencies in the story, fill the holes, add some depth and dimension to the characters, and basically say the things I’m meaning to say right now, during the first pass, but am not.
That pass will also end, but I still won’t be finished.
There’s a third pass where I’ll rewrite everything (again), and (hopefully) use better, more dynamic and engaging language. Instead of keeping the “He got out of bed” sentences, I’ll try to replace them with “He sprang from his bed” (to see what was the matter).
Then there’s a polishing pass. Then, who knows. Off to beta readers, line edits, grammer checks, and on and on the process goes, until at some point, I’ll throw my hands in the air say “Enough!”
Enough. That’s when I’ll be finished. Because that’s how it goes with creative works – they’re never really done. I don’t know who said this, but someone said that a piece of art is never finished, it’s just abandoned.
Hopefully, I can abandon this book some time this year, and get started on the next one. And hopefully, you’ll read it, and say that it felt finished.