It’s an age-old question for writers, and one to which I know the answer in my day job. I can’t really describe it — I just know it’s done, much like you know when an episode of The Simpsons is done, or a piece of toast.
But this novel thing — it’s different. I started polishing the first two scenes — again. I like it, yet I’m obsessed with getting it absolutely right. Maybe it’s a confidence thing, and once I have a few of these under my belt, I’ll naturally know when it’s done too. But until then, I think I need some feedback. No, scratch that. I’m ready for feedback.
So I started a new file today:
Novel Draft2l Final 130414.doc
I polished the first two scenes, then cut and paste them into this document. Which I won’t read again until someone else does.
Total words: 6,952. I’ve restarted the counter on the right to reflect this. Looks pathetically short after all this time. But how do you measure the progress of a novel? Word count? Time spent? Day required to generate that time spent?
In the end, I think there is a start date and an end date. Everything in between is Schrodinger’s Cat scratching to get out. (Or not scratching to get out. Depending.)
Either way, I’m officially calling this day the first day of the Final Stretch. The question I’m pondering now is, do I let people read it before I have the whole novel copy and pasted into that file?