The Final Edit of Your Novel – One Year at a Time

I don’t have an ISBN.

Technically, I’m published, but under the umbrella of another authors. Plus, my eyeball graces the cover of an annual report.

However, I’m still an author. Anyone who has written over 600K words and feels pain when they slash them is an author. And I’ve received a rejection letter about a year ago. Thus, I’m an author with memoirs and romance-mystery novels under constant re-edits.

This post could be about my stumbling blocks, hurdles, and so forth. But, I’m the girl who was editing during my stay at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit with 37 nodules glued to her head.

And who came off a six or eight-hour radio shift then spend another four to six on my novels. I’d log 10, 12, or 14 hours on my days off.

Writing is a long process. You’re creating people, towns, streets, restaurants. Writing a synopsis. Changing your synopsis. Tossing out your synopsis. Re-editing. Walking away from your book and starting another.

It happens.

For example, Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn over seven years. In 1876, Twain wrote 400 pages of Huckleberry. However, Twain set his pen down, claiming those pages were below his standard, or as Twain said, “only tolerably well … ” and he shelved HF and wrote The Prince and the Pauper and Life on the Mississippi.

But in 1882, Twain found inspiration while aboard a steamboat. The boat meandered though the Mississippi from New Orleans to Minnesota. Twain blew the dust off those 400 pages, and he completed Huckleberry Finn in August 1883 with publication in 1884.

Months, years, or decades can pass for a writer to churn out their message. And some writers want to throw tomatoes at that “If I waited for motivation, I’d never write a word” quote. I can’t speak for all writers, but sometimes you need a “Wow, I must finish that novel” moment

During my pen name journey, I’ve fried two laptops. It was almost three, but I switched just in time. My main romance-mystery work in progress? My WIP? Since March 2019, I’ve claimed to be on the final edit. At times, I’m tempted to abandon that novel and focus on my other romance WIP – but I’ve spend over five years on this one.

My memoir about my stay in the EMU? I’m making progress. My brain tumour and Jehovah’s Witness memoirs? Not so much.

Every year, I make a list of the novels, novellas, and books to write. And I set a goal. My problem is once I start a synopsis, I’m a runaway train – writing parts of the books or novels until I have about 15 pages.

There are other writers I’m in awe of because they can develop an outline, write the story, and voila. I’m aware it’s not that simple, but they’ve set and meet a clear goal whereas I operate like a squirrel on fire.

I’ll edit my novel for a while. Then write my memoir. That quick social media break turns into an hour or more. Then I consider checking out another WIP. I fix up that synopsis, add more, you get the picture.

Someone said they think I don’t want to finish my novel. Not because they think I’m lazy or I’ve given up.

They said I’ve grown too attached to my characters and to stop writing about them would be too hard. I’d be that little green monster who comes out at the end of Just For Laughs: “It’s over!”

It might hold some water. After all, I cried when I killed off one of my characters – or people. When you spend over five years with them, they’re people.

But that’s the writing process.

You have to prepare for tears, long nights, and most importantly, knowing when to stop writing and editing.

Mine was probably finished three edits ago. Maybe I’m not ready to let go.

But one day, you have to put the pen down.