How Do You Know When You’re Finished Editing/Late Night Inspiration

As I get closer to the final editing stages of my book I’ve started thinking about how we’re supposed to know when everything is finished and perfect and ready for agents and readers. I’ve realized this is a complicated question.

I have heard before that with any piece of writing the author will eventually get to a point in their editing where they’re simply moving periods or commas around and then changing them back. I have also heard people say a piece of writing is never really finished. The editing is never done. You just have to find a point you’re happy with and call it quits. I’m not sure I agree with either of these beliefs (but then again I’m not finished editing yet). I’m hoping if I continue following the editing steps that I’ve laid out for myself I will reach the last step and then (yay) be done and ready to query agents.

Current Editing Steps/ Progress Report:

1. My wonderful aunt returned my copy-edited manuscript with four (yes FOUR) typed pages of suggestions and critiques which was amazingly helpful. I had reached the stage where I knew it wasn’t perfect, I knew it wasn’t finished, but I couldn’t quite connect with what wasn’t working or what needed help. So with her notes I have begun another round of editing! Which I love. It’s exciting coming up with new ideas and brainstorming ways to make characters come to life.

This step has also included random bouts of late night inspiration. My brain doesn’t just turn off when I’m done working on editing. Sometimes, like last night, it decides to keep working while I’m trying to fall asleep. Last night my brain would not turn off. I was thinking about changes I wanted to make and scenes I was going to write (or re-write). I wrote down some notes in my phone and, luckily, I woke up this morning still excited about them. I love waking up with fresh ideas, ready to edit. So I guess late night inspiration is a good thing (also slightly annoying because it makes me feel restless and then it’s really difficult to fall asleep).

2. When I’m finished with this round of revisions (which is actually a bit more extensive than I anticipated) I’m going to send the book out to Beta readers. I’m just choosing a few people that I trust to give honest and helpful feedback. Many of my friends and family members have offered to be Beta readers, which I am unbelievably grateful for, but my manuscript is still in the editing stages and I really want to be able to show them my absolutely best work. Which is one of the reasons I won’t be asking every person who offered to read the manuscript to be a Beta reader. Don’t be offended if you offered and I don’t ask you to be a beta reader, it just means that I want you to read my best possible work in the future! I really am grateful though for every single person who wants to read my work and I can’t wait to share the finished product.

3. Beta readers will read the manuscript and give me feedback. Hopefully after this stage there won’t be too many extensive revisions left. I’ll fix anything that needs to be fixed and go back through looking for any mistakes or discrepancies.

4. One final copy-edit to make sure everything is perfect on the sentence/grammar level before I send out query letters to agents. I didn’t include this in the steps but I have been steadily working on my query letter since my last post and it’s getting much closer to where I want it to be.

So, to sum everything up: Hopefully after Beta readers have looked at the manuscript and I’ve taken their feedback into account (oh and when the final copy-edit is done) I will be finished editing! I am fairly certain I can be done with my current round of revisions in a week (if I actually work on it every day and set goals for myself) and then the manuscript will be ready to send off to Beta readers who will hopefully agree to finish reading and give me critiques within a couple weeks (but we’re only human and it may take longer, which I’m ok with).

Happy Wednesday everyone!


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