So far I’ve learned that you don’t “finish” writing a book just once.
The first time is when you finish the first draft. That’s probably my favorite time. The first draft is usually the longest process for me, so it’s immensely satisfying when I finally reach the first “THE END”. The story is out and told, as flawed as it is (and it is always, always flawed the first time around). Finishing the first draft is when I want to celebrate, even if it’s just with a cookie or some ice cream.
Endings two through ?? are the following drafts. How many depends on the book. I have a first reader who reads along with me as I write the first draft (my best friend from high school!), and I also usually have a critique partner or two read my first draft. So each of those drafts is an ending. For at least one of them, usually the second, I rewrite the entire book, retyping every word. It’s time consuming, but a great way to catch inconsistencies and bad wording. Those endings are a little anti-climactic.
Then I send the book off to my editor. The next draft incorporates any changes she wants me to make, and is another exciting ending. By now, the book is starting to look like the final version, and getting it done feels HUGE.
My last chance to make any major changes comes with the copy edits. Basically, if the copyeditor or I don’t catch it here, it’s not going to get caught. So finishing that draft always feels a little bit fraught!
Finally, FINALLY, comes the last round of proofing. The book has been typeset and is about as close to carved in stone as it can get. My job now is just to scan for any last typos or mistakes. I have to confess, I really hate this round. I generally enjoy editing and proofreading, but by this point, I’m usually tired of the book and have a hard time spotting problems. This ending–THIS ending is the biggie. It is THE END for real. After that, I am well and truly finished with working on the book.
Why am I telling you this? Because I just sent back the typeset proof of As Lost as I Get! It is out of my hands entirely, and exactly two months from today, it will be in your hands.
I’m so happy with how this book turned out, and I can’t wait for you to meet Zoe Rodriguez and get reacquainted with Lee Wheeler.
Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? It’s just $2.99 on Amazon right now, so don’t miss your chance!