I’ve just finished my fourth full length novel. One that will be sent to my agent.
I never have a problem writing the books. I always tend to go over my word count and need to do a fair amount of trimming. I’m getting better at this, and for this particular story, I managed to stay around the projected word count I had set for this project.
I never have a problem coming up with storylines, interesting characters or settings. And somehow it all seems to come together to make what I think is a good book.
But how do I know?
I am my own worst critic. I’m fortunate to have several people I rely on for opinions once I’ve finished a book, and I have some wonderful critique partners to help me along the way. But as we all know, this is a subjective business. We don’t always all agree on what works and what doesn’t. So it’s difficult, at this point, staring at a manuscript that says THE END, to know whether it truly is the end.
Do I go back in and search for scenes that could be stronger? Take out more extraneous words, tighten and tweak again and again, or do I simply trust myself?
This is where it gets tough. I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I don’t really know if what I’ve written is good enough. Just because I like it doesn’t mean my agent will. And, as I have learned, just because an agent likes it, doesn’t mean a publisher will.
And so it goes.
Have you reached this point in your career? Are you still plagued with self-doubt, finger hovering over the send button? Or do you know when what you’ve written is good enough to send out? If you do, how? What qualifies as ‘finished’ in your mind?
I’d love to know your thoughts. Meanwhile, maybe I’ll go look at that manuscript one more time.