This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
I forget what number edit I’m on for my current manuscript, but I thought that I was going to have to do a lot more. That was until something magical happened recently; at the end of an edit my work in progress actually seemed to become a book.
It’s hard with any creative project to know when you’ve finished. As a writer, it’s very easy to write the words ‘The End’, but very hard to actually mean them. Before the last big edit of my work-in-progress (WIP), I was scratching my head at the plot holes and storylines that needed to be teased out and expanded upon. My manuscript was 20,000 words too short and, generally, it felt like the manuscript was lots of separate elements that weren’t one story. Yet after an immense edit, which I planned in great detail before I started, it suddenly all came together. What was a rough draft had suddenly made a great leap into a book that only needed a bit of a polish.I love it when a WIP becomes a proper book, one that I wouldn’t be afraid of sending to a test reader or my editor. It’s the moment where you read through and go: “You know what, this isn’t that bad”. It’s when all my fear and loathing and feelings of doubt ebb away and I feel good about my writing. Of course that only lasts until it comes it’s published and then you’re convinced that it’s the worst thing ever written until the reviews come out. The edits I do after the WIP becomes a novel are little tweaks and proofreads. This is where I listen to my manuscript, and read it on a Kindle to catch as many typos as I can.
When it starts to feel like a book, I get the equivalent to a spring in my step with my editing. Whereas before I reach that point, I’ll do anything I can to avoid editing as it’s all in such a muddle, when I get to this stage, and I can see the end in sight, it spurs me on to keep going and get it done. Now it’s almost a pleasure to do the minor tweaks.
My husband will often ask me when I think something will be finished, or how much work I’ve got to do on a WIP and it’s hard to tell him. Up until two weeks ago, I thought I was going to send my latest one to my editor for the second time, to check I was on the right lines. Yet, something changed and all of a sudden all the original notes she had sent me came together and the book became a lot tighter. It’s hard to describe that feeling and it’s difficult to predict on what number round of edits you’re going to feel it.
I’m hoping that when I send the manuscript to my editor she thinks it’s as finished as I do. If she does then I’m looking forward to taking some time off over the summer until it comes back to me after the copy edit.
Do you get to the stage where you realise that your WIP has become a book? Or is your WIP always a work in progress until it ends up on the shelves?