What to do when you type "The End."

I finally finished the Sci fi/ Fantasy book I had been working on. It ended up taking more time than I thought. Months in fact longer than I wanted it to. When I looked at the tally of the word count, 140,000 words. Good gods.

I’ve had several people ask me, what now?  Are you going to publish it? What do you want to do with the book? Is it a trilogy? Do you want to break it up into different books?

When this book was over, done, stick a fork in it, I didn’t want to look at it again for a little while. The book had eaten my soul, and I needed to refill my passion for writing with other things.

I took a month off. I took a vacation. Sat around. Crafted. Played with the dogs. Read books. Gardened.

To be honest, the bug to start the next book, bit me at the beginning of summer. I had to finish my magnum opus to get to the next book. So while I busy trying not write, I really really wanted to be writing.

The best advice I have for people who finish a draft comes from Stephen King. Put it away in a drawer. Don’t read it. Let it rest. I think of it like a loaf of bread rising. The brain has been so filled up with the book, it needs to let it go.

Six weeks minimum.  More if you can stand it. I can. I like the editing process like I like to have my veins poked with needles for my treatments every week. Ugh. I know some find joy in smoothing over the rough edges, but I rarely enjoy it. It’s the killing all those darlings. I can’t let them go without a fight. Sigh.

Once the book has rested, read the whole thing in as close to one go as you can. Don’t mark it up yet. Just read it. Does it flow? Is it interesting? Do you care what happens?

Now you’ve read it, put it back down again and think how you would like to polish it. For instance, in the book I am editing now, I made it a Christmas book and forgot to mention Christmas. Whoops. Now I get to go back through and fill that in. I originally had character in the beginning of the book who we never hear from again. Do they stay or do they go?

A book is never done. Ever. I think the second best piece of advice I have heard was from Eloisa James. Do the best you can right now. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

I can’t stress enough giving yourself a break and recovering from the entire process. Finishing a draft of a book is a major accomplishment. Celebrate it. Give yourself the chance to revel in your hard won victory. You’ve just done something most people never accomplish. How cool is that?

Have you finished a book? What did it feel like? What did you do to celebrate? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.