Every author has experienced this once they reach the end of their novel, novella, or short story. You have to go back to the beginning and analyze every word. Are the paragraphs done correctly? DO I have paragraphs that go on for pages and pages? Have I lost the thread of the plot in an attempt to get more description in?
As soon as you identify a potential problem, you immediately start rewriting—before you have given your book over to the beta readers. Oh no, you can’t wait. You have to fix these awful problems you’ve found. But first, you must make notes, so you know what needs fixing. Days, weeks, even months are spent parsing every word, searching for plot holes, of which you are convinced you have many, and rewriting the whole book.
During this process, you’re beating yourself up, crying out painfully, “How did I ever think this was a good idea?”
Several weeks later, you sit back and heave out a huge breath. Finally, your work is perfect. Now, it’s time for the beta readers, who have been slathering to see your latest work.
Once your latest novel is off to the beta readers, you begin work on a new book. It’s too difficult to sit and wait on the one you just finished to come back. Time to dive into that story you’ve had bothering you through the rewriting process.
Slowly, over the next month, information from your beta readers flows in. You stare at the suggestions in horror. How did they find so many problems? There’s only one thing to do…
More rewrites are in your future!
Stop! Don’t touch that keyboard. Step away from the computer.
Instead of rewriting, compile a list of what your beta readers said. Compare those notes. How many are exactly the same suggestion, or very similar to each other? How many of these suggestions are merely you need to use more pronouns instead of names all the time? How often did you use a particular word?
Rewrites shouldn’t be in your future for these problems. In other words, Let It Go! Stop rewriting and start editing. Once you’ve covered everything that was mentioned, take a few more days to continue developing your new story. Fall in love with it. Hate your book awaiting another editing, so it looks professional when you submit to a publisher.
Now that you hate that book, begin round two of editing. You will discover what you thought was a mess is in actuality in very good shape. Throughout this process, you’ve learned a very important lesson. There really is a time to release your story to the world.
About the K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
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