Writing

‘The End’ – When Do You Really Stop Drafting?

‘The End’

Those two words can mean so much, especially to me this week. I finished the draft of my manuscript re-write. I wrote the end of my story. Except I never actually wrote those two words because I know that it’s far from at that point.

It felt good though. I’ve been working on this draft since January and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. The thing was, I was in this position around the same time last year. I finished the draft, edited and edited, then sent it to an editor for advice. It came back with a few changes, but not much and the cynic in me questionned that.

‘Why didn’t they pull it apart and say that it was complete rubbish that should never be allowed to see the light of day?’

I couldn’t accept that it might actually be all right, so I sent it to another editor. This one came back saying that the premise was good but perhaps with some work it could be even better. After a lengthy discussion, I came to the conclusion that I needed to re-write the whole thing. In the first draft I used three points of view. I told the reader too much and assumed they couldn’t work it out for themselves. The new draft has just one PoV and I thought that maybe I wouldn’t be able to write enough words.

It was one of those occasions in life where you wonder whether to bother – should I just bin this project and move on to something new? But I’m not a quitter. I like this story and I believed in it. I wasn’t going to spend all this time on it for nothing, no way.

I also have my eldest daughter to thank for spurring me on. A few chapters in, she asked to read it. Thankfully, she loved it and kept asking when the next chapter would be ready. I kept up a steady pace with her in mind and we discussed characters and plot along the way. When my daughter talks about the characters as though they are real people, I know there is something going right. It feels right too.

So I made it to the end of the story, after ironing out a few details along the way. Then I did a little dance around the kitchen and poured myself a large glass of wine to celebrate. Now the work begins though. Before I can truly write ‘the end’, I have to edit and edit again. It’s at this point that I find writing novels hard. How do you know when to stop? At some point I will have to give it to someone and ask for a second/third opinion and then at another point I will have to take the bold step and decide that it’s ready for the next stage.

I love this story and I’m proud of it, so no matter what, I will see it through to publication somehow, but I’ve been working in it for so long and it will be good to move on to a new project. There is a second book in this series already floating around my head. I haven’t finished with this character yet. There are new adventures ahead of him.

Sharing this for What I’m Writing.

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8 thoughts on “‘The End’ – When Do You Really Stop Drafting?

  1. Oh hon you’ve come so far with this story, I’m sure you’ve made tremendous progress… one thing I’d say though is that you must believe in yourself more. There can be a danger of over editing otherwise – which coincidently Maddy wrote about in her #whatimwriting post today.

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  2. I don’t know because I’m on my 3rd edit and still feel it needs work! But brilliant for you that you feel you’re progressing, although I agree that perhaps you need to have more faith in yourself. And I like the determination to see it through to publication somehow, it’s absolutely how I feel too.

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  3. Well done – that’s a real milestone! I think you deserve to write ‘the end’ on it since it’s a complete draft. You might not have finished editing it but the story arcs have all worked through to their conclusions which is what an ending is. And I totally hear you on the editing thing. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to stop! Maybe you could give this draft a going-over then hand it on to beta readers? Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

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  4. I feel your pain!! I’ve celebrated the end of my second manuscript several times now and I know it’s still not quite ready… I reckon each milestone is worth recognising though – well done! And good luck with the next stage – I’m sure you’ll know when you’re next ready to take a breath… X

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