Am I there yet?

I'm not listening to an ipod right now.  Nope.  The only "music" I'm listening to is the shrieking of two boys racing hot wheels and (ahhhh!)  crashing them into my walls.  (Our poor banged up trim.) Just minutes before this, I listened to, and tried to drown out, my five year old (with a foam stick from a yard game in his hand) pretending to be Harry Potter and turning my youngest into a toad.  The youngest did NOT like this game, so he stood screaming and crying in the foyer.

Ah, yes.  Music to write by.

However, while the oldest can be the squeaky wheel, he can also be mighty useful in getting the youngest to clean his room while I cook supper.

And that does NOT introduce the topic of today's post.  Moving on.


A novel is not finished when the manuscript is.  When I was a new newbie, I kinda thought it was.  Then I read like 3 agent blogs and submitted.  I'm past being embarrassed about this.

Now I've rewritten all but one section of that same manuscript (the first seven chapters of my current ms were not in the original).  And I've had my first friend (who's an actual writer) read it.  The whole thing.  THAT'S AMAZING.  You know, to have someone else who writes READ my work!  I could ask the questions I'd been dying to ask someone!  Like, "Was the scene after the fire at the dance totally rushed?"  "Did you get why the guy at the shelter was important?"  "Do you feel the relationships between my characters were deep enough?".  And then I GOT SOME FEEDBACK!  And that's even more amazing.  BECAUSE SOMEONE ACTUALLY TALKED BACK WHEN I BABBLED (via email) ABOUT MY STORY!!!!  I loved it. 

I also got specifics on what might make my story better and closer to being finished.  Because even after writing, rewriting, editing, revising, editing, thickening the plot, deepening character relationships, developing plot, etc it's still NOT done!

Part of me (don't worry, erica.  i KNOW better now.)  really wants to start querying once I finish rewriting this last big section and then continue filling in the plot holes afterward (is it afterward or afterwards?). BUT I WON'T.  I figure that's still the newbie blood in me.  DON'T SEND IT UNTIL IT'S POLISHED AND READY. Soooooooo.  When do you know your novel is really really finished, finito, kaput, ended, over and out, le fin, you ask?   When will I know?  I'LL JUST FEEL IT.  (and erica will tell me so.  hehe.) 

You don't have to take my word for it.

Take hers.  How do you know when your story is finished?

Or his.  Knowing when to cut or fix crap scenes.  (Well, this answers another question, but it will help you GET finished.)

Or hers.  This post made me tear up a bit. Something in it made me go, Ohmygoshyes!that's right!!! ( It's in no way sad. I think I read it after having a sip of wine.  Ignore me.) This post will also help you finish your novel.  Or start a new one in a more organized fashion.  Always speeds up the finishing process.  Great post on layering both your writing process and plot.

In case you didn't go to the link above this one, you missed her link to this post on organizing your writing.  This post INCLUDES tips to help you write a ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY of your novel.  Hmmm.... Weren't we just talking about that?  DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS LINK!  How to Write a Novel:  The Snowflake Method

Wish me luck.  I have parent/teacher conferences today/tonight and I'm almost ready for them!


  1. Good luck!

    I prematurely queried before too. I had done research and didn't call the book a "fiction novel," but my MS was no where near ready.

  2. Omigosh, sounds like my house except the little one gets in on the Harry Potter action.

    I think everyone has sent out queries too soon. We can't help it, we're just excited. And it's hard to step back and take the time to really look at our work objectively. But when you do, you can tell if it's ready.

    Congrats on getting closer to finished!

  3. Good luck! I still haven't queried my novels yet because I know they are not even close to being finished, but I have written short stories that I say are basically finished and ready to be sent out into the word. If they've been edited, seen by people other than yourself, edited some more, and finally you're just changing a word here or there, then it's probably finished. Of course, you could say no novel is ever finished, but in the end all you can do is polish it to the best of your ability as a writer.

  4. Oh, I loved that link - Writing in Layers - it almost made me tear up too! I actually used the snowflake method on my current WIP, only problem was my one-sentence summary just dramatically changed - just as I was roudning the home stretch in my first layer, 75,000 words!!! It changed because as I got into the writing I realized, even with a great outline, that my book was heading a slightly different direction. But YAY for layering - I think once I start layering I can get it worked in.

    And I know the music of small kids in the house! Sometimes it's a delight, sometimes I have to put my four kids each in separate rooms for an hour cause I can't take it anymore! :)

  5. I'm so impressed you had all those questions about your novel before anyone had read it! Perceptive and brave--excellent harbingers of success. Love the links, all of them. Thank you!

  6. Best of luck at the conferences! I get so excited about my novel that I want to send it so badly! But like you, I know better. Still, it's hard! Good thing I love the editing process so much. LOL!

  7. I can't wait to be able to send my ms out to a beta reader or two...or three...yes, I'm daydreaming there probably. ;) But still, I can't wait!! I feel like that's when the revision will really begin :D


    Just think you'll be in 80 degrees in just one more week! Your story sounds similar to mine, only I entered mine in an international contest that I had hoped to win. HA! BOY, was I in for a RUDE awakening. But that said contest led me to Erica and then to meeting you and I will be soon!

    You've learned tons and now you are sharing you knowledge with others. I commend you. Keep up the fantastic work!

  9. This is great. Totally great that you have a writer looking through the full! I hope your story is polished to perfection and snapped up.


  10. This is a great post and so important for new writers to remember.


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