Two Small Words Say it All

I’ve just completed the final edits on the first draft of my second novel. With pleasure filling the back of my throat, and yet tears filling my eyes, I wrote the two words that every writer either looks forward to or dreads. I wrote, “The End.”

For this particular manuscript, it was a sprint to the finish. My process is generally to edit a section (maybe 50 pages) on screen, then print the section for hand edits. I place those 50 or so pages in a folder, then trot them off to my nearest coffee shop. I’m ruthless when editing, but I don’t feel quite so mean to myself if I’m sipping a nice latte or some otherwise caffeine-loaded concoction. I then incorporate the first edits on screen, print out the section again, and give it to my husband for his eagle-eyed scrutiny. He’s the Comma King. Once again, I incorporate his edits (provided I agree with him, of course), and print it out once more for a final look-through.

This process takes time and lots and lots of paper. For this first draft work, I ended with a twelve-inch high stack of marked-up paper. It’s all worth it. I get plenty of face-time with my manuscript … and quite a few lovely lattes in the bargain.

Now, it’s back to the computer to compose the all-important cover letter. Wish me luck as I prepare to send out requested material to some very nice agents I met at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference.


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