Take A Break

You Finished That Novel… Now What?

On March 29th, I did it.  I typed those two fateful words: THE END.  Operation Overload is now complete!  Well, the first draft, anyway.

I was more than a little excited.

That lasted for about fourteen minutes.  Then I realized what else I have to do.  DFWCon is in 23 days, and this manuscript is nowhere near ready to present to an agent.  No pressure…

But before I get into my To-Do list, how about some stats about this novel??



Total Days to Completion:  51

Total Words:  68,951

Words / Day:  1,352

Number of Coffees Consumed:  564 (probably)

Number of Flights Flown:  53


Okay, on to the main event!  I’m a list person.  I like the confidence that comes from checking them off.  So, let’s go through Becki’s List of Things To Do With That Finished Manuscript.

  1. Stare in amazement.  Be excited, but kind of sad that it’s over.
  2. Reread your favorite parts.
  3. Realize your favorite parts sucked, and wonder what else sucks too.
  4. Enlist Beta readers.  Pick the friends who will be brutally honest, but maybe throw in a few complimenting-types.  You know, for good measure.
  5. Edit the obvious things, the problems you noted along the way, but wouldn’t let yourself change until now.
  6. Do a more thorough read through.  Double-check consistency.
  7. Send to Beta readers, because you’re on a time crunch.
  8. Buy champagne, but don’t open it.
  9. Wonder what’s taking your Beta readers so long.  Try to ignore the crippling self-doubt that your book just isn’t one they care to finish in one sitting.
  10. Prepare a query letter and synopsis.  Rewrite query letter no less than 19 times.  Pretend the synopsis is fine, because those suck to write anyway.
  11. Get feedback.  Most likely, it’ll tear out your soul.
  12. Recoup.
  13. Rewrite.
  14. Time permitting, resend to Betas.
  15. Time doesn’t permit.  Perfect your elevator pitch, attend DFWCon, and pray to God your book impresses someone.
  16. In between buying agents drinks, edit.
  17. Then realize DFWCon is awesome with or without your stupid book, and enjoy yourself regardless.  Because you don’t do this for the money, or the fame.  You do it for the love of words.
  18. Start plotting a new book.

So there you go.  An exhaustive list of how I’ll be spending my April, crippling doubt included!

How about you?  What’s your process after writing a novel?  I’d love to know!


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