I tied up the ends up my latest novel yesterday. Each chapter was reordered, checked against the overall arc and outline, and sections rewritten and cut with ruthless vigor. Then came the Xtra-Fun™ process of pagination and chapter labeling. You know what I really love? When MS Word decides that, despite 220 pages of text all being in one font, perhaps I REALLY REALLY want to keep a hidden font code for a single blank space, so every adjustment of spacing reverts to this viral font. I almost wanted that perky paper clip pop up in the corner and say, “Hey! It looks like you’re trying to change your default font! Can I help?” and I’d get to drop some clip art of a piano on him and squash him into tinfoil.
My goal in finishing this latest draft in the book was to get it to readable form so my wife could read it. She’s the perfect test reader because she reads how I’d think most people do.* She forgets about it for a day or two, reads a bunch of chapters late at night, forgets it again, comes back to it later having forgotten some of the plot points, then pushes through to the end in one go. I could have someone read the book at a desk with a pin-sharp red pencil at the ready and bright task lighting but I really want this story to be read, devoured, and my wife is the best for this. The problem is, now I’m left with a big vacuum in my schedule. Nothing to rewrite! No new chapters to create! What will I do with myself? The responsible answer is, of course, all the things I’m supposed to be doing when I’m actually editing my book. The real answer is that I’ll jump right into the next project. What’s already done? So far I’ve got one historical fiction novel (unpublished but got several hits by agents who liked it but proclaimed it “small market”), one non-fiction travel book (I’m dreading sending out a salvo of queries to agents and hearing back…nothing), and this new sci-fi young adult fiction (this will surely be the next Harry Potter). And then six hundred blog posts and some other stuff. If none of them get published at least I can print off copies for my kids and say, “Look what free time and imagination can get you! Lots of words on paper!”
*PS, I can’t wait for the comments on this. Can’t wait.