Yesterday I wrote THE END on my eighth full manuscript. But does that mean it’s ready to send to a publisher? An agent? A critique partner?
None of the above. In this case, the end doesn’t mean the absolute end of anything, other than the first draft. I’m okay with that. I already have a list of things to add, delete, and change in the next round, and I’ll discover even more when I start reading through the manuscript next week. I know my story isn’t perfect, even though I like it very much and believe in it.
Something I’ve come to believe in the past few years is that there isn’t such a thing as the end. I know I’ll be going through the story an absolute minimum of two more times, possibly considerably more, as my crit buddies get ahold of it and begin to point out inconsistencies, errors, and sheer laziness on my part.
Even if (when!) I get an agent to rep this novel, s/he will likely find things that need tightening and changing. So will an editor. And beyond that? Many novelists I’ve met would dearly love to fix a few things in novels of theirs that have already been published!
So this isn’t the end. It’s merely the conclusion of one phase. Honestly, I think it’s the most important phase, because now my story has a shape that I can work with. My next round will get the novel that much closer to the vision I had for it when the idea first came to my mind nearly a year ago.