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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Author Insight: The End

How do you know when your book is finished and ready to leave the nest?

"When it's due?  LOL. Sometimes I think it's impossible to know because there's always 'just one more tweak' you could do to make it better.  But this is a business driven by deadlines, so that really needs to be the focus of when to let go." - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.


"I knew when I finished Across the Universe because I knew there was nothing else I could do to make it better. Before, when I finished a novel, I'd think it was 'good enough.' With Across the Universe, I consciously made the decision that 'good enough was never good enough.' That made me push to be my best. I knew when I finished the second book to the Across the Universe series because the deadline hit me!" - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"I don’t think it’s ever finished. There just comes a time when it has to be submitted. To use your analogy, a bird in a nest is hardly a bird at all; its “birdness” (forgive me) is defined by its taking flight. Similarly, a book on my laptop is not a book. Its status as a book is only conferred upon it when it becomes communal property." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"When my agent starts asking where the book is J. It’s so hard to know when it’s done, done. I think you just have to find a point where it’s as good as it can get for the moment and promise yourself that you won’t open the file again until you’ve gotten feedback. Nothing worse than sending a manuscript off to your agent and then tweaking it so that it’s ‘better’. They really hate it when you tell them to put down your book because you’ve got a new version coming." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

"I usually get a big surge of excitement when a book’s almost done, and I have to resist the urge to send it off to my agent NOW NOW NOW! Generally, I know when I’ve hit NOW NOW NOW stage, I need to read it one more time. Inevitably, I’ll find a very embarrassing typo. I never misspell normal words. It’s always these really ridiculously Freudian things that make me sound like a perv, an axe murderer, or some combo of the two. So I’ve learned to take a step back. My agent isn’t going anywhere, and neither am I. Except maybe to therapy." - Carrie Harris, author of Bad Taste in Boys.

"Basically when my editor says, 'It's done!' Before that I have to rely on critique partners and my agent to nudge me in the right directions. By myself? Honestly I'm not sure I would ever be able to step back and say a story is finished." - Maurissa Guibord, author of Warped.

"When the ARCs come." - Hannah Moskowitz, author of Invincible Summer. 

"When I find myself putting in commas that I had taken out on the prior revision!" - Tracy Barrett, author of King of Ithaka.

"When the book is published. And even then, I sometime muse on the possibility of a director’s cut edition. But it’s just that, musing." - Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Blessed.

"When I get physically ill at the idea of reading it…again." - Gretchen McNeil, author of Possess.

"Well, in the last couple years everything I've done has been contracted, sooo...it's ready to leave the nest when the deadline comes! Otherwise, it's more of an intuitive thing." - Jaclyn Dolamore, author of Between the Sea and Sky.

"I hit the deadline and have to turn it in. I could revise endlessly." - Inara Scott, author of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

"It really comes down to when I’m delighted with it. I usually go through a few drafts, let a couple people read it, edit/revise again. But when I’m really and truly happy with it, then I know it’s ready to fly." - Kim Harrington, author of Clarity. 

"You just reach a point where you feel you can't do anything else with it. Of couse, when your crit partner or editor sends it back with notes, or when you read your first pass pages and think 'why did I write it that way?!?!' you realize that a book is never really finished. I'll probably be marking up my finished copies with red pen!" - Sara Bennett Wealer, author of Rival.

"It's due? It's overdue? Ha. No, I just get that sense that it's as good as I can make it, and that I'm happy with where it is. It's usually after four rounds of edits or so; one to fix typos/awkward sentences, another to beta read and take notes on story issues etc., another to implement those notes, and a fourth to re-check it and see how it all works, fixing things along the way. I try to give it a few weeks between the first and second." - Stacia Kane, author of City of Ghosts.

Stop by Thursday to find out how the rest of the authors know when their book is ready.
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1 comment:

  1. I reeally resonate with what Ty Roth said. I have felt that way when I have to turn in a manuscript. I need to just let it go and quite tinkering with it.