The art of knowing when to stop

I am in the thick of final, final, FINAL proofing for my next novel, The Last Dreamseer.

Somehow, I thought it would be quicker than this. I’ll explain my editing process: I’ve written the book, had writer friends look at it, revised and revised again. It’s then been to a professional editor for substantive edits (what’s wrong with the plot/characters), and revised. And then to a line editor (what’s wrong with the sentences), and revised. It’s then been printed out and read through by me, as well as being proofed by two professionals and fed through my Kindle to catch any errors I couldn’t see on the PC screen. I’ve then gone through the formatting, so all that was needed was to upload the final version to my retailers (Amazon and Smashwords).

I thought it would take me maybe an hour.

Two days.

It’s the oddest thing, but reading it through on the Amazon on-line checker made me see all manner of repetitions (and a few, plain, good-old typos) that had managed to escape all the eyes that have looked through the book so far.

Finally, it’s now done and uploaded and I’m relieved to see the back of it, if I’m honest.

Cover of Katy Haye's The Last Dreamseer

It’s beautiful … but it’s time it got off my PC and out into the real world.

Because the thing is, writing is the kind of art that doesn’t ever have to be finished. As well as checking for typos and errors, I was also aware of my fingers twitching over the keyboard, while my mind nagged at me, “Is that the right verb? Are you sure?” and “Maybe that scene would be better if it took place outside instead of in her room.”

I had to grit my teeth and stop myself making some unnecessary changes, thankful that I had a deadline because otherwise I might still be tinkering with the thing on my deathbed.

So that’s my tip for this week. If you have a piece you can’t stop messing about with, but you’re confident it is, fundamentally, fine as it is, then set yourself a deadline and move on. Publish it, if you plan to self-publish, or get it sent off to agents and editors.

And then move on to the next. Because that’s the other ‘always’ – there’ll always be another story to write.

And I can’t wait to get on with my next.

About katyhaye

Katy Haye writes fast-paced fantasy novels for YA readers and is fascinated by the science of stories.
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5 Responses to The art of knowing when to stop

  1. Wish I was at that stage with my latest novel Katy! All the best with launching it.

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  2. Jan Jones says:

    Another lovely cover!

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  3. Sophie says:

    I must say, all that typo checking has paid off – I’ve not spotted any in either book, and I am cursed with an inbuilt spelling/grammar checker. Many Kindle books are littered with typos, wrong verb tenses, even continuity errors – I just want to correct them all. Thank you for not making my inner red pen twitch. 🙂

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    • katyhaye says:

      I’m really pleased to hear that, Sophie! I have to say, I most often seem to find errors in traditionally pubbed books. I think a lot of self-published writers have got the message to use an editor and proofreader whereas some big publishers no longer seem to care. I was starting to think I was the only one to notice poor spelling and punctuation, so I’m glad to hear I’m not alone!

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