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I've finished the first draft of CAST IN FURY.

I'm curious, though. For me, when I say I'm finished a novel, what I really mean is I've finished the first draft of the novel that I've been working on. I still have to go through it, line-edit, revise, fact check (and, honestly, it is not an understatement to say I am not very good at this last part ), tighten, clarify, etc. The book is not actually ready to head out the door (or in my case, be thrown out the door in frustration, because at a certain point, moving commas does not help) but to me -- it's finished when I have a complete first draft.

What stage in a book is finished, for you, if you write them?


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 12th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
When I ship out the revised draft to editor. I say this because I invariably need to revise extensively. The pre-edit draft is an approximation at best.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2007 10:13 pm (UTC)
I think, for me, the hardest part is the first draft, and it's the place in which much hand-wringing and certainty of abject failure frequently occurs. So when -that's- finished, I say "I'm finished".

The revisions and editorial stuff that comes after that feels productive, and it feels more like I'm in control of the book, because I can clearly see it is a book.

But my first draft tends to be relatively clean, because there's a lot of internal fussing and revising before I hit the end stretch. When I have a first draft, I have something that it will not kill me for other people to read. Whereas some people write everything first, and then refine in subsequent drafts; my iterations are partial throughout the process. So first draft is probably also a term that is defined entirely by process.
Sep. 12th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
I'm finished when my beta readers get back to me with any errors or suggestions. That's when I send it off to the agent or editor.
Sep. 12th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
Finished = finished the first draft, and any large structural flaws discovered while writing said draft. At this point, the story has been told, and has been pinned to the board like Schroedinger's butterfly, forever fixed in a single reality.

Polished = ready to send to editor
Sep. 12th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
I don't write in order, and I revise bits as a I go, so it's almost impossible for me to say when a first (or even later) draft is finished. Further, in the Day Job, I have to deal with author revisions and the occasional "Can we make this change in blues?" request.

Consequently I call it "all written" when it's ready for beta readers. I don't think I'm comfortable with the term "finished" until something is printed and bound.
Sep. 12th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC)
"I am not very good at this last part..." I would be embarrassed to tell you how many times Sheila has called or e-mailed in the last few weeks to check on minor inconsistency or another she's found...

You're not alone!
Sep. 12th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)
embarassment loves company!

But I think the inconsistenices are due to the idiosynchratic way we see the world; some things, I never forget -- but some things, I'm absolutely terrible at remembering, and its the latter that I often -do- forget in the long stretch between page one and page mumble.
Sep. 12th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
embarassment loves company!

Unrelated, but ... A-HA!
Sep. 13th, 2007 08:41 am (UTC)
If I could think of anything to do that would embarrass you without embarassing me more, you would be in minor trouble. Just saying.
Sep. 12th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
Same, assuming I ever actually get that far.
Sep. 12th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
I always say a novel is finished even though I know revisions are looming, but my first novel took me 17 years to "finish" (long story) so that is a big step for me.

Granted, now 2 of my finished novels have to be stripped back almost to the outlining stage...so they were finished, but now are unfinished, which could get rather confusing very quickly.
Sep. 12th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
Erm, I say it's finished once i have a complete first draft. Failed to mention that part....
Sep. 12th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
When I have a complete first draft, from start to finish. Revision and editing is a horrendous pain, but at least I'm working to polish something and not create it. ;)
Sep. 12th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
Even for us wannabes?

Technically I'm never 'finished finished' but I'd say rewrite/fix 2 or 3 is usually when I get the novel in a somewhat likeable form. After a month of avoiding said fixes, of course.

I think the mechanical part is easier than figuring out the pacing and the specific content, but heaven knows I'm not particularly wonderful at either.
Sep. 12th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
Even for us wannabes?

It's a process question about finishing stuff, so yes :). Because no matter how good (other people think) we are, we pretty much started from zero and just wrote. And revised. And revised. And etc.

Even the first novel, which was of course, written entirely on spec, was finished for me when I wrote "the end" the first time; the rest was revisions >.>
Sep. 12th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
Beta readers ... which probably comes after the second-third revision.
Sep. 12th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
I think finished is a good term to use after a first draft is done, because for me the first draft is the hardest. After that it's revising & polishing...which may take longer than writing the draft, but oh well.
Sep. 13th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
I'm very happy to read that you've finished the first draft. I admit I'll be much happier when I can finally read it.

Are you going to be at the store Saturday?
Sep. 13th, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
I was thrilled to pieces when I finished my first draft of Mysterious Paris, but even now, years later, it's still not finished. I'm going for one more sloggy revision by year-end. And if I still don't think it's finished, I might hack it into a novella for a writing contest. And then I won't have any novels that are in any finished state and can spend time finishing my short stories. *sigh*
Sep. 13th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
I've not actually published or even tried to have a book published yet, but I still think of my books as "finished" after a complete first draft. And on a related note:

The book is not actually ready to head out the door (or in my case, be thrown out the door in frustration, because at a certain point, moving commas does not help)

I never really *finish* anything, either. I just give up after a while and say that it's done if it looks complete. :) This phenomenon is far more obvious in my art than my writing, because none of my novels have made it to the stage of "OK, I give up".
Sep. 13th, 2007 05:44 am (UTC)
Same for me. Once I write the last word I feel I have finished the book, although, since I am an extreme potterer and tweaker, it will probably undergo a lot of changes before I am really happy with it.
By the way, you probably won't remember me, but we met at a FilkOntario.
If you like, you can see here what I do.</a
Sep. 15th, 2007 05:20 am (UTC)
I'm the same way--once the first draft is finished and I've told the story, that's "finished". For me, writing and re-writing are two very different things. But, like you, I tend to tinker as I go, so the first draft is usually pretty clean.
Sep. 15th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
Congrats on finishing that 1st draft.
I'm just waiting to have the finished version in my eager hands. (no pressure (maybe just a wee bit) or anything, lol!)
Sep. 24th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
Didn't realize you were on LJ, just added you to my f list.

As far as a book being done? First draft is very rough, ugly, incomplete, and in the wrong order. Takes me at least 2 more drafts and coments from readers before it can be called ready. Not done, just ready for the editor to take a pass at it.

Some months later I'll get a revision phone call. Yet another draft, often adding 100 or more pages. Then it's done. Sort of.

But of course there are page proofs to go through later yet.

The book is done when the bound copies are in the store and there is no way I can do one more quick edit.
Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
*waves* We chatted at Bakka today. I've friended you.
Dec. 6th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
The very moment I type, say, or think the last word, because it means that I have (successfully) completed a chain of thoughts that may possibly end up on someones book shelf somewhere. Everything else I do to the manuscript is just polish.
Feb. 4th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
cast in fury
Any idea when this book will be out? By the way I love this series.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )