Last week I finished a manuscript. Well, I typed ‘The End’. It was a project I started as part of last year’s NaNoWriMo and ended up being 104,000 words; my longest manuscript to date. It sort of feels like I’ve finished it, but I know that the next step is starting the editing process.
I have another manuscript that I’ve submitted to a couple of competitions which I wrote a few years ago, and I was working on edits of that right up until the day before the competition. I’m still not sure whether I should rewrite whole chunks of it because it doesn’t work the way I hoped it would.
The thing is, there is always more work that can be done on a piece. I could rewrite some plot point, or change the point of view of a section. A couple of the earlier manuscripts I wrote, back before I knew about genre conventions and other such things, now feel like they need to be completely rewritten so they’re more like what people expect. Of course there is an argument for originality of structure, but I’m not sure how far I’ll get with that.
The problem I’m facing now is when do I call a project finished? I know I have to let go of things, not least because I’ll drive myself batty with boredom, but I’m also afraid that they’ll never be ready.
I wrote an epilogue for the most recent project and I felt so naff tying everything up so neatly. I know that some readers like that, especially in a romance novel, but I was spent the whole time writing it thinking it was the worst drivel I’d ever thought up.
I’m heading up to the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference in Brisbane in August. It was a lot of money, but I decided that it was worth it for the professional development, networking and opportunities. I’m not really sure what to expect, although people who I’ve spoken to about it have sung it’s praises. I plan to have a second draft of the manuscript ready by then so that I can send it straight to any publisher who might request it or even seem even vaguely interested.
Slowly but surely I’m working my way towards releasing a novel that I’ve written myself into the world.