I finished my fourth novel on Friday. (Cheers) It was an interesting process–one I’d like to expedite going forward. I started writing the outline near the end of August and finished it at the beginning of December, meaning it took me roughly three and a half months from start to finish. Not bad, but I think I can do better.
My goal for this month is to revise the entire thing so my wife can read it starting January 1st. She is a huge Twilight fan (nobody’s perfect, right?) and my novel has vampires in it, so she’s anxious to read it. My vampires don’t sparkle, though.
Anyway, I’ve come to realize that finishing my novels is an incredible feeling. I can remember my sheer elation at finishing my first one, The Dreamer, on Thanksgiving day of 2006 while home from college at my parents’ house watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I felt a comparable feeling, one more of relief than of joy, at finishing my second novel, Lions and Serpents, at the close of NaNoWriMo 2010. I was relieved to just be done with the thing. Finishing Unlucky, my third, gave me the feeling of having completed a long, painful journey inside the skin of my protagonist through the arid Arizona Territory in 1850.
Each experience was like a new flavor of ice cream: all tasty, but different. Upon completion of my vampire novel (tentatively titled Blood for Blood–don’t steal that or I’ll hunt you down), I experienced a feeling of relief similar to when I finished Lions and Serpents last year, but also an incredible satisfaction in knowing I had just completed my fourth novel. Wow. I’ve written four novels.
Ted Dekker gave me a hint at his Ragged Edge Conference in August: the more books you have written, the more likely you are to get noticed by a publisher. Finishing your novel tells them that you can finish what you start. Finishing multiple novels tells them that you’re in this for the long run. Finishing more than 18 novels before you’re published (like my good friend Lynn Rush) is ridiculous, but hey, it works! I hope I don’t have to write 18 before I get pubbed, but I’m going to keep writing until I get there.
What about you? Is finishing your projects an issue? Do you get hung up on revising them? Is it hard to tie off all your loose ends at the end?
You can find a way to overcome those issues. I wish you the best as you try to do so.