Publishing Expert Tips

Is my story complete?


It’s a very common question we hear from authors: “How do I know when my book is done?”

While  it’s important not to turn in your first draft, it’s equally important to know when you’ve given your book everything it needs, and it’s time to turn it in to the publisher.  Your book might feel like a child you’ve raised from infancy. The world is a scary place, and you don’t want your “little one” going out into the big, scary world without everything needs to be successful.  As a result, some authors engage in five, six, ten, or even more rounds of corrections before turning in their final manuscript.

But how do you know how much is enough and how much is too much?  Remember: as author, you’ll always know more about your story (fiction or nonfiction) than your readers.

First and foremost, be sure that things that are obvious to you aren’t overlooked in the story. Will readers be able to clearly distinguish character, follow the plot and understand any symbolism in the end?

Be sure not to end the story just because you’ve reached a certain page count or word count.  The story is over when you’ve resolved any issues or questions; when you’ve reached a meaningful, satisfying conclusion, or when you’ve fully conveyed the intended purpose of the book

Remember that being finished is more than having a good ending.  Every chapter needs to be a complete unit, with a starting and ending point.  Some parts will probably be more exciting than others, but every part should serve a purpose.  Here’s something to remember: If there was a part of the book that you thought was less interesting, and you just wanted to get through it to get to the “good parts,” chances are your readers will feel the same way.  Don’t short-change your story.


One thought on “Is my story complete?

  1. WOW!!! While I was sort of watching TV with my husband a bit earlier tonight, I saw something pop up on my cell phone (which I typically don’t have with me…particularly when I’m sitting on the couch after supper). I really don’t like using my cell phone because sometimes things disappear, etc. I was excited to see Debasree Ghosh’s Blog tonight regarding “Is My Story Complete?” In response to her Blog I had typed quite a long comment of why I identified with what she wrote. All of a sudden I lost what I had written when I waved my hand over the cell. Being an unknown author is tough. So now sitting at my desktop, I’m trying to remember what words I just lost. While penning the last chapter of my first and only book months ago, I wanted to keep on writing – but I stopped for a while and wondered if were worth the effort. Considering the length of my already-long unpublished book, I felt I should stop for the time being as I really didn’t know how people would respond if it ever got published. The Archway and Author Solutions people inspired me as I waded through their publishing processes. I felt like a miracle had happened! They helped me immensely in every step along the way to the production of my manuscript “Beyond Coincidence” which I hope the public will like. Yes, this book was and still is my “little one.” Some of the comments and questions I’ve received from people that have read my book are: ‘I’ve read about half of your book and I love it.’ ‘I’m hooked on your book as it’s hard for me to stop reading it.’ ‘I can see you’ve done a lot of research.’ ‘What happened to Viktor?’ ‘Are you going to write a sequel?’ My response has been that I’m indeed considering a sequel – but right now I’m paying attention to the marketing by setting up a Facebook page and doing the best I can. Of course, I am extremely thankful for any and all comments people might have to say about “Beyond Coincidence.” Once again, after seeing the words of Debasree Ghosh, she has given me hope.

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