Finishing something – actually finishing it, once and for all – is a curious thing.
I’ve been sitting on this story for almost twenty-three years now, and in that time, I’ve re-written and re-approached it so many times that it’s almost hard to imagine it as a real and solid thing. Somewhere along the way, however, the rough edges have gotten smoother, the characters more real, and the scenes most important to the story stronger than the rest.
We’re still about three months away from the final publication date, and with a first draft in place, it might be hard to imagine what could possibly take so much time to complete. There’s work, of course, and other life events that dictate the amount of time I can spend editing, but more so than that is the sheer volume of things to do.
Most importantly, the closer I come to finishing the manuscript – to actually finishing it, once and for all – the more I’m becoming aware that these words that have been bouncing around inside my head for so long are themselves about to be decided, once and for all. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also at this moment that the mind begins to wonder – have I been creative enough? Is this sentence quite right, and what does it mean to finish something, anyway?
The good news is that, after several weeks of constant editing and re-working, I’m happier with the story than ever before. Years of growing practice have helped me understand some of the areas I can improve, as has the feedback from a small group of dedicated beta readers whose praises I’ll be singing as we draw closer to the publication date. I’ve finished most of the major edits now, and am focusing on sentence-level changes, spot edits, and making sure the details of the world itself are right instead.
In short, there’s still more to come, but it’s all moving along.