Yay! I've finished my first draft of the Man in the Mirror, the third installment in the Epitaph series. While I'm excited to have typed those two words (The End), this is where the work really begins. Now I have to go back to the beginning and see what I've screwed up in the process. Continuity errors, inconsistencies, gaping holes where I've neglected to provide missing information.
Writing a novel is about more than telling a story, it's about fleshing out your characters and making their story come to life. Even though I sat sobbing over some of my scenes, I was sobbing before I ever transcribed the words that you will read. The trick is getting that same emotion onto the page. My critique partners and I have a phrase we use, "Read what I mean." Too often, the way we feel inside our heads doesn't make it to the page. The words need to go along with what I'm feeling and seeing inside my head, and that's where the second draft comes into play.
Writing is rewriting. You may have heard that phrase used, and it's right on point. Being an author is about more than getting the words down, it's about making sure you've used the right words, about making sure you haven't left out crucial details (except in those instances where it's important to leave them out!), or in some cases, making sure you haven't included information that isn't relevant and slows down the story. And after you've assessed all of that, it's time to go back with the proverbial fine-tooth comb to look for the obvious errors, typos and overused words, etc. In all, I generally do a minimum four full drafts before I send it to my editor, looking for different things each pass.
I have a tentative appointment with my editor, and then, in addition to all the corrections I made after looking at it with my own microscope, she'll point out those things that are still missing/wrong/need to be addressed.
So no, writing "The End" isn't the end of the process. That's when the real work starts.
I'm on track for release late summer or early autumn. Can't wait to share it with you! After a false start, I think it turned out pretty well! I hope you'll agree.