When is a novel finished?
When it’s published, of course.
I’ve been working on ‘Principles of Angels’ for over seven years, on and off, alongside short stories and other projects. About half of that time I’ve been doing re-work, either as a result of feedback from critiquers or to make changes I’ve decided I want to make myself.
And now (excepting any changes resulting from copy-editing) I’m revisiting the story for the last time. I’m not making any major changes, as my editor was largely happy with the novel as is. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m ‘anglicising’ it, and also addressing a few queries and requests for clarification my editor did have. I’m also sowing seeds I intend to develop in future books.
As this is my last bite at the cherry, I want to get it right. Firstly because I want to make this book as good as it can be. I’m finding it a little annoying that, despite all the re-writes, there are still passages I’m not entirely happy with. I’m sure more experienced novelists would tell me that’s always going to true. Secondly, and more importantly, I’m aware that the decisions I make at this stage about my characters (who I’ve come to know and care about over the years) and my overall plot (which I’m still in the process of turning from sketch into full colour canvas), will be with me for a very long time. The choices I make now will shape the future course of (my) history. I need to get them right. Last chance to change my mind…